Rockford Fire and Police Commission narrow down the search for new fire and police chiefs

The commission named eight finalists for the two positions
Fire and Police Commission
Fire and Police Commission(WIFR)
Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 4:16 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - “We’re confident with the four in each of the two departments. We’ll find the best candidate,” said Rockford Fire and Police Commissioner, Sam Schmitz.

The Rockford Fire and Police Commission turn over the names of eight finalists in the running for Rockford’s top cop and fire chief. Commissioner Sam Schmitz said two of the police candidates are from outside the department.

“Larry Lapp is a retired, federal bureau of investigations personnel. And Jonathon Lewen is a Senior Public Safety Advisor,” Schmitz said.

The two, other candidates, Assistant Deputy Chief Carla Redd-Miller and Deputy Chief Kurt Whisenand, are long-time members of the police department.

“For the fire chief, all candidates are internal from the Rockford Fire Department,” said Schmitz.

The commission chose Captain Trent Bass, Captain Kyle Hill, Fire Prevention Chief Matthew Knott and Operations Chief Michele Pankow.

“The next step: we’re going to conduct an online Q/A session for the candidates,” said Schmitz. “The police forum will be held Wednesday, July 28 ar 5 p.m. The fire finalists will be Wednesday, August 4 at 5 p.m.”

Interim Police Chief Randy Berke and Interim Fire Chief Todd Stockburger said the short list of finalists is a positive sign for the future.

“I do think that it’s helpful to have somebody who’s been here, knows the culture, not only within the community and the police department as well too,” said Berke.

“Out of the four they named today, those four will be good listeners and they will make good decisions,” Stockburger said.

If you have questions for the fire and police chief finalists, you can email the following addresses:



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