ROCKFORD – The Rockford Police Department SCOPE team has been busier than ever, using specialized tactics to take down dangerous suspects.
In fact, they’ve been behind several arrests in recent weeks.
It’s a police unit that focuses on very specific crimes.
“SCOPE stands for specialized community oriented police enforcement.”
Lieutenant Eric Bruno from the Rockford Police Department tells us the SCOPE team is the enforcement arm of the investigative services bureau.
And they’ve been busy arresting offenders and fighting crime.
“They are responsible for some of the worst of the worst that we have in the city,” said Lt. Bruno. “Specifically, they deal with a lot of the gun violence, narcotics as well.”
Made up of two teams, with a total of 11 officers, they’re currently housed in District 1.
The unit handles multiple investigations at a time.
Working overnight hours, in plainclothes and unmarked cars, they help relieve the burden on regular patrol units.
“They’re really a group of highly trained officers and we count of them for a lot of different functions within the police department,” said Lt. Bruno.
The unit was originally created to not have to answer service calls.
They can also be enterprising; gathering intel and teaming up with other stateline agencies to bust criminals.
Something it’s creator thought the city needed.
“We were having multiple shootings, the number of murders increased dramatically,” said Dominic Iasparro, a former Deputy Chief for Rockford Police and and Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department. “And the amount of crack cocaine that was available on the street just exploded.1993 was probably one of the most violent years in the city’s history. And as a result of that we came up with different options for adding additional manpower to the city.”
Although it’s gone through a couple name changes since it was first formed in 1994, the goal is still the same.
They’re working hard to reduce violent crime and make the city safer.
“I’d consider it a great success,” said Iasparro. “They make a large number of arrests, there’s a large number of people that went to the penitentiary, very violent offenders that went to the penitentiary based off of work that they did. And it’s growing.”
Lt. Bruno said it’s not uncommon for the SCOPE team to seize a gun every single day they work.
The unit works seven days a week, and will soon be moving to their new headquarters at the Justice Center downtown.