PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — In a policy session on Tuesday night, the Peoria City Council discussed ways to lower violence in Peoria.

The City Manager, Patrick Urich, shared a presentation on different ways to use $8 million in violence reduction funding. The council members gave their input on what they would like to see implemented, or changed, depending on the manager’s suggestions.

The council talked about three separate places to allocate the money.

The first one is for community-based violence prevention funding. This would utilize $700,000 of American Rescue Plan Money.

$200,000 would be used to implement the Cure Violence Initiative, $530,000 would be for community-based violence interventions, and $500,000 would be for hot-spot place-based interventions, for example, to clear vacant lots, remove abandoned properties, and add additional street lighting.

The community-based initiatives will be determined by the community, which can submit requests for approval (RFP’s). The council will then discuss and approve a few of the requests in August, with money allocated in October.

The second option is through a $3 million grant from the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO).

This would allow the city to purchase police equipment:

  • $375,000 for additional license plate reader technology (violence prevention)
  • $375,000 for community awareness of public safety efforts (violence prevention)
  • $500,000 for Cure Violence (violence prevention)
  • $750,000 for the replacement of body cameras for the Peoria Police Department and Peoria Sheriff’s Department (police transparency)
  • $500,000 for the replacement of in-car video cameras for the Peoria Police Department and Peoria Sheriff’s Department (police transparency), and;
  • $500,000 for workforce development and job training initiatives (community development)

The $500,000 for violence reduction programming could also be offered to the community in another RFP, once the guidance from DCEO is sent to the city.

The last discussion was for a $1.825 million co-response program that Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law. This would allow for more law enforcement equipment, as well as for law enforcement to partner with social workers to help with mental-health-related 911 calls.

The police department is required to establish a co-responder unit within six months, as well as hire personnel and social workers.