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Durand Police chief going extra mile to connect with the community

DURAND (WREX) – Jeff Schelling brought nearly 30 years of law enforcement experience to Durand when he took the job as police chief.

He spent 24 years with the Rockford Police Department and then moved on to Rockford University as the Director of Public safety.

While Schelling was born in Rockford, he spent most of his youth in the small town of Leaf River, with a population of around 650 people.

“When I started to learn about the small town community, that is my experience I hang my hat on. That’s my hometown. That’s where I grew up,” Schelling said.

Schelling utilizes his upbringing everyday on the job in Durand.

Typically hitting the road to patrol the town after a morning at the station.

“I can’t sit in that office for 4-5 hours.”

“You get a chance to get out and, meet, talk and have a chance to greet the residents. It’s just what you do.”

One of the top priorities for Schelling when he started as police chief was developing a relationship with the schools and the students inside.

“The purpose is to instill some security in them first and for them to get to know me and if that’s what we can do then that’s a huge accomplishment.”

A connection standing firm with school officials today.

“He is a daily presence at the school and we greatly appreciate that and I know the kids greatly appreciate that as well,” Durand Superintendent of Schools Kurt Alberstett said.

Schelling also makes a point to swing through the town square in the afternoon once businesses begin to open up.

A visit business owners welcome and are all too familiar with.

“I’ve known Chief Schelling for many years. Comes in quite frequently to check up and see how every one is doing to see if there’s any problems or anything he can do for us,” Cimino’s Pizza Owner Benny Cimino said.

“He does well out here. He fits right in and we are lucky and fortunate to have him here.”

The level of compassion mixed with his law enforcement experience help Schelling’s job and the town of Durand move a lot smoother.

“If anybody is out and about, I just stop by talk to them on my way through and see how everybody is doing and what’s going on. It makes my day go by much better, much quicker and with a lot more ease,” Schelling said.

Schelling says he is driven everyday by the impact his, and his department’s, efforts have on building support in their community

 

Evan Leake

Evan Leake anchors for 13 News Today and 13 News at Noon. Evan grew up in Darien, Illinois, a south-west suburb of Chicago. He came to WREX in 2017 and worked his way to the anchor desk in May of 2019. He coordinates both the Teacher of the Week and Inspiring 815 series for 13 News. You can connect with Evan at eleake@wrex.com or Evan Leake on Facebook.

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