Rockton Police take quick action to save a life, new officer welcomed to Rockton Police Department


Officer Matthew Baade was sworn in by Rockton Village Clerk Christina Stewart as he took the oath of office at the Aug. 15 Rockton Village Board of Trustees meeting. Also pictured is Rockton Police Chief Matt Hollinger (center).

Three Rockton Police officers saved a life on Saturday, July 29, 2023. Plans are to recognize these life saving officers at a future Village of Rockton Board meeting.

At about 5:15 p.m. Sgt. Michael Johnson, Officer Emily Harrison, and Officer Nicole Papworth responded to an incident in the 700 block of Salem Street. The witness could see smoke and reported something burning in an apartment. 

When the officers arrived, the apartment was smoke filled. They noticed that the tenant was still in the apartment. Officers were able to carry her to safety and to extinguish the fire with a fire extinguisher before the fire department arrived.

Rockton Police Chief Matt Hollinger said the Rockton Fire Department would complete any further investigation.

At the Rockton Village Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday evening, Aug. 15, 2023,  Officer Matthew Baade was warmly welcomed into the Rockton Police Department . As friends, family, community and fellow officers looked on, he took the oath of office, sworn in by Village Clerk Christina Stewart. 

Officer Baade is a Hononegah Community High School graduate.

Baade will be attending Sauk Valley Community College Police Academy in Dixon IL. He will be taking a 14 week course that was recently completed by Rockton Police officers David Murray, Elizabeth Harkins and Michael Slack.

The three officers took the oath of office on April 18, 2023. They have now begun their field training.

At the police academy, Officer Harkins received a certificate for highest achievement and served as the class speaker.

Chief Hollinger credited trustee Dave Winters for his work on the Police Commission, which is responsible for hiring and promotions. “I can attest to the fact that it is very difficult to find the right candidates. We were very lucky to find four from that list,” Hollinger said.

In February, Officer Baade took the written test, took a polygraph test and had psychological evaluations done, meeting all other requirements. “Officer Baade did a great job on everything,” Hollinger said.”

Hollinger told Baade, “You will be entering a community who backs their police department.”

Rockton Police Chief Matt Hollinger said, “With Officer Baade, we now have 16 in our department, with a full staff.”

Hollinger added, “I would like to give a shout out to our officers who have been working with 12 people. It has been tough and I have asked a lot of them.”

At the same meeting, trustee Dave Winters gave the most recent police activity summary from Aug. 1-15, 2023. Police gave 63 warnings, issued 44 tickets, and made 13 criminal arrests. Two accidents happened with one with injury.

The Rockton Police Association (RPA) invites the public to Blues and BBQ to be held on Wednesday evening, Sept. 6 from 5-8 p.m. at Settlers Park.

Listen to the sounds of the band Mixtape. Watch a K-9 demonstration, or check out emergency and military vehicle displays. Bid on silent auction items or take a chance on a 50/50 raffle. Young ones can visit bounce houses or have their faces painted.

Form a team to compete in a friendly bean bag tournament. The cost to play in the tournament is $20 cash and players need to download the Scoreholio app.

The REACT helicopter is certain to generate great excitement as they land on the grounds.

Food and beverage options include loaded baked potatoes from the Rockton Fire Association, pulled pork sandwiches and chips from FIBS, Dairyhaus ice cream, DeeDee's Coffee and The Mix plus beverage choices of beer, water or pop.

Blues and BBQ was the brainchild of Village president John Peterson when he served as a trustee. In 2016, Peterson approached the police department, village and the Rockton Lions Club to develop a memorable way to close out the Rockton River Market and Music in the Park. Inspired by the idea, the Rockton Police Association formed a committee. Joining in the action were family members and friends of those serving in the Rockton Police Department.

The Rockton Police Association is a 501(c)3 organization. All proceeds from Blues and BBQ will be used to support the Rockton community and the Jaimie Cox Memorial Scholarship.

Jaimie Cox was a Rockford Police officer who graduated from Hononegah Community High School. Cox also served in the United States National Guard and was part of a National Army Guard contingent deployed from 2008-2009 to Nangarhar province in Afghanistan. He received honors including the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge and he was awarded the Illinois National Guard Abraham Lincoln Medal of Freedom Ribbon.

Officer Cox died in the line of duty on Nov. 5, 2017.

More information about the 2023 Blues and BBQ event can be found online or by contacting Officer Papworth.

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