PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The City of Peoria’s Advisory Committee on Police Community Relations held its monthly meeting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

During the meeting, the committee held elections for its chair and vice-chair positions. They elected Shalandra Burch to be the committee chair and Lee Lang to be the vice-chair.

“I am looking forward to moving our community forward,” Burch said.

The committee also discussed how the city is working to implement Illinois House Bill 4736, which created a co-responder pilot program. The program would have social workers and mental health professionals go with and support police on calls.

Peoria Police Chief Eric Echevarria said the Police are working with local organizations to create the co-responder pilot program, which is expected to help reduce incarceration rates for individuals with mental health conditions.

“If the only tool you have is arrest or release, then that’s all you have, we want more tools than that,” Echevarria said. “We can’t continue to put a band-aid on something and think it’s fixed, we need to figure out how do we give them the help they need.”

They are also looking into an app that can help with de-escalation techniques. Echevarria said they expect to receive money from the state for the program next month.

Anyone who would like information on how to attend the next meeting virtually can contact Christina Kirby at ckirby@peoriagov.org.

The City of Peoria’s Advisory Committee on Police Community Relations meetings are recorded and can be watched on the City of Peoria’s Youtube page.