Peoria Police Department looks to expand residential officer program

By Denise Jackson

January 22, 2014 Updated Jan 22, 2014 at 8:02 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Peoria Police Chief Steve Settingsgaard says the hiring of seven new officers next month will free up more officers for the residential program.

Last year the Peoria Police Department placed two officers in the residential program, one on the East Bluff and another in the Second District.

Under the program, an officer moves into a house or apartment where crime tends to be a problem. The goal is to help improve the quality of life by working with residents. Chief Settingsgaard said so far the response has been positive.

"I'll be shocked if down the road we look back and we say it's a bad program, it's not worth it," he said. "Based on other cities experiences and what we've seen so far I think we're gonna really like it."

"We have a lot of drug problems over on Huongs and Spitznagle and everything and the other way too. That's mostly what I hear about," said Averyville Neighborhood Association President Rose Walker.

Settingsgaard said he wants to place another residential officer in the South Side by summer. He said turning neighborhoods around takes time and is a long term process.

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