City leaders in East Peoria approved approving changes to allow one of its code enforcement officers to carry a gun.
The unanimous vote took place Tuesday night. As WMBD has previously reported, the new ordinance transforms one Code Enforcement Officer’s title to Conservator of the Peace.
“It’s not meant as an offensive threat to anyone it’s very much of a defensive position,” Commissioner
Commissioners on the city council all gave their approval to Ordinance 4199. For many of them this new addition just makes sense for someone with a police background.
“We aren’t looking for problems but those things do happen,” said Jeffers.
“I want to state the obvious,” said Commisioner John Kahl, “as a retired law enforcement officer he can legally carry anywhere except for during this job without this.”
Commissioner Gary Densberger said the retired police officer, who’s now working in code enforcement, usually handles nuisance complaints, repeat offenders and situations that start to get out of control. It’s a job they think he could feel safer doing with a gun.
“I’ve always worried about him specifically because there are many people that he deals with on a daily basis that he may have arrested at one point throughout his career,” said Commissioner Daniel Decker.
This newly approved still has another hurdle to jump. Despite going through previous training and background checks, Densberger said a state police training board must approve the measure before the city’s one conservator of the peace can carry.
This would nott change anything for any of the other code enforcement officers.
“It’s not something that we could just hire someone and send them off to this training. It’s nothing like that. The only reason that he is able to do that is because he was an officer for so long,” said Decker.
“It is unique,” said Densberger. “I’ve been told that we would be the only community in the state that has this. but perhaps others should think about it.”
The state board could still deny East Peoria’s request to allow this change.