Loves Park, Rockford mayors express concerns over 911 center operations

Two mayors for Winnebago County’s largest cities have penned letters to county officials expressing their disapproval over current proposals that would strip 911 center responsibilities from the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office and give them to county administrators. 

On Tuesday, 13 WREX reported on county finance chairman Ted Biondo’s plans to change the center’s reporting structure. However, there are questions over whether that move is legal. 13 News obtained a copy of a 2006 contract between the county and City of Loves Park. It says termination of that agreement would require a 2-year notification to either party. 

But an Aug. 9 letter written by Mayor Tom McNamara of Rockford and Mayor Greg Jury of Loves Park was addressed to Chairman Frank Haney, Sheriff Gary and county board members. 

Th two say they are "deeply concerned" about recent developments to 911 center operations. They wrote, "Our concerns are around both the County’s refusal to allow the Sheriff to replace staff in the County 9-1-1 center to maintain appropriate staffing levels and the County’s consideration of changing operational oversight from the Sheriff to the County Board." 

The letter went on to say if the 911 center is funded properly and staffed properly, then the sheriff is the appropriate person to operate the center. 

McNamara and Jury went on to ask county leaders to allow the sheriff to run the 911 center while all county leaders wait for a third party study reviewing its operations is completed. 

13 News is at the Winnebago County board meeting, where this proposal is expected to be discussed. We will update you tonight online and on 13 News at 10.  

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