Law Enforcement Hero
Sergeant Joseph (Joe) Danforth
After joining the Rockford Police Department, Sergeant Joseph Danforth saw first-hand the effects of gang violence in his community. Joe wanted to do something beyond his police work to address the lack of outreach activities on the west side, to help kids stay active and off the streets.
Noticing that basketball was a great way to keep his own sons out of trouble, Joe started the Rockford Five-0 basketball training program in 2005. The program aims to give kids a better chance at a college education and college athletic scholarships. What started as a small effort has grown to include numerous volunteers and over 300 kids who have participated in his organization since its inception.The majority of the kids enter the Rockford Five-0 family in the third or fourth grade and usually remain throughout high school. However, the organization likes to say that once you enter the family, you never truly leave.
Rockford Five-0 has helped numerous kids get college basketball scholarships, including notable alum, Fred VanVleet, Joe’s son, who currently plays for the Toronto Raptors. While mentoring kids over the years, Joe and his coaches have taught that basketball alone is not enough. Joe stresses the importance of being a good student, as well as a good person. He says his success would not be possible without his wife, Sue Danforth, as she has been just as committed to the organization as he and his coaches have been.