Southside residential officer position not filled, Peoria to reinstate Asst. Police Chief

By Audrey Williams

April 8, 2013 Updated Apr 8, 2013 at 10:39 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill -- The Peoria Police Department and the City Council are making some changes to the department.

Monday night, Peoria Police Chief Steve Settingsgaard told council members he filled two of the three funded residential officer positions. That's the program where officers would live and work in high crime areas.

Two officers will start in May, working on the East and West Bluffs.

First District councilman Clyde Gulley said by not putting an officer on the southside, the city is missing the area that needs it most.

The Police Chief said he couldn't get anyone to work there.

"I was only able to get two officers to come in, and those two officers wanted to work those two locations that we had already identified," said Chief Settingsgaard.

Councilman Gulley said, "If we couldn't find an officer that would move in those areas, that should be a sign of what's going on in the neighborhoods there, if no one would take that opportunity."

Part of the savings from the open position will go toward a $75,000 contract with John Jay College of Criminal Justice for services involved with the 'Don't Shoot' program.

The rest will go to the re-instatement of the Assistant police chief position that was eliminated in 2009 due to budget cuts.

Chief Settingsgaard hopes to fill that position in the next few weeks.