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Rockford names women to lead city’s police, fire departments

August 28, 2021 GMT

ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) — Women will serve as chiefs of the Rockford police and fire departments, marking a first for each department in the city’s history.

The city’s Fire and Police Commission voted unanimously this past week to hire Carla Redd to lead the Rockford Police Department and Michele Pankow as the city’s next Fire Department chief.

Mayor Tom McNamara said he “could not be more proud or more excited” to work with the new leaders, who each have served in their Rockford departments since the 1990s.

Redd is currently serving as assistant deputy chief. She joined the police department in 1998 and has worked as a patrol officer, detective and sergeant. In 2015 she became the first Black woman to hold a command rank as a lieutenant.

Pankow joined the fire department in 1992 and in 2016 became the first woman to become a division chief for the department. She most recently has been division chief of operations.

Redd replaces former Chief Dan O’Shea, who resigned in April after five years in the post. Former Fire Chief Derek Bergsten announced in March he was leaving the department after 12 years to become chief for a Colorado community.