- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 13, 2015

ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) - The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department has formed a 13-member tactical unit to battle street crime.

The Rockford Register-Star reports (https://bit.ly/1PExpam) Sheriff Tom Caruana introduced a team Monday to concentrate on illegal gang activity, drugs and high-crime areas.

Also making debuts were Chico and Cliff, two K-9 officers.

Caruana says the unit is necessary because of reports of gunshots and gang activity.

Caruana asserted gang and drug activity will not be allowed to take over Rockford and the surrounding community.

K-9 units handle drug-sniffing, tracking suspects and search-and-rescue tasks.

Rockford Area Crime Stoppers is raising money for a third dog - about $76,000 to cover training for the animal and handler, a kennel and a dog-friendly squad car.

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Online: Crime Stoppers fundraiser: https://www.gofundme.com/k9officer

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