Winnebago County News Briefs


Police officer dead after East Side traffic stop

Authorities continue to investigate the death of a 30-year-old Rockford police officer which occurred following a traffic stop that included in a crash and shooting early Sunday morning.

Officer Jaimie Cox was one of two people who died in the incident, which occurred after 1 a.m. near East State Street and Dawn Ave.

According to Rockford Police and media reports, Cox contacted supervisors requesting assistance. Other police officers responded and found Cox critically injured and rushed him to OSF St. Anthony Medical Center.

Another person was found dead in a vehicle two blocks away from the initial traffic stop. He was identified as  Eddie Patterson, 49.

“The preliminary results of the investigation indicate that Officer Cox was involved in a scuffle during the traffic stop that resulted in the officer becoming entangled by the suspect vehicle,” the police statement said. “It is believed that Officer Cox fired his weapon during the incident.

The cause of death for Officer Cox and for Patterson have not yet been determined. Autopsies are pending.

“This is an active and ongoing investigation,” the statement continued.  “No further details are available at this time. Additional information will be released as appropriate.”

Police asked that anyone with information should contact the Rockford Police Department at (815) 966-2900 or CrimeStoppers at (815) 963-7867.


City announces plan to remove dead, dying trees

The City of Rockford has launched a new program to help address dead and dying trees on private property. The private property tree removal loan program offers no-interest loans to qualified residents with limited resources to remove trees deemed a hazard on owner-occupied property.

Applicants must meet annual household income guidelines of $70,000 or below and must obtain at least two written quotes from the city-provided list of qualified vendors. City staff must also verify that the trees in question present a hazard that requires removal.

The private property tree removal loan program was approved by City Council in early October, and may utilize up to $300,000 worth of tree removal loans from the city’s sanitation fund. Residents commit to a repayment plan timetable depending on loan amount: payments ranging from 12 months for a $750 loan; 2 years for a loan up to $1,500; and a negotiated schedule for loans greater than $1,500 would be repaid monthly with resident water bills. Failure to keep up with the agreed-upon payment plan may result in water shut-off and/or other debt collection methods.

The city has been plagued with trees affected by the Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive exotic insect whose larvae feeds on Ash trees, depleting its nutrients, and ultimately compromising a tree’s structural integrity. Affected trees may result in uproots or broken limbs damaging property and people.

“In the wake of the emerald ash borer crisis, it became imperative that a program such as this be created to assist our citizens to be able to remove dead trees from their own properties, said Mark Stockman, City of Rockford Public Works Director. “Standing dead trees pose a safety hazard to all those in close proximity. I encourage those citizens who meet the criteria to avail themselves of this service.”

For more information about the program policy and protocols, and to complete an application, visit


School district investigates discrepancy in report

RPS 205 administrators are investigating a discrepancy between the graduation rate the Illinois State Board of Education provided to the district last week vs. what’s reported on the Illinois Report Card today.

Administrators are analyzing the data and working with the State Board of Education to find clarity.

Rockford Public Schools is seeing growth and improvement at its high schools, most notably in the district’s four-year graduation rate which jumped from 65% in 2016 to 72.9% in 2017. The rate has grown even as the administration and School Board increased rigor and requirements to graduate – including eight additional credits and a third year of science.

The annual report provided a series of data points, including the percentage of students meeting or exceeding expectations on the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC standardized test.


–Winnebago County News Briefs–