PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The region’s top prosecutor announced Friday the formation of a local, state and federal effort to combat gun violence in the Peoria area.
U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Harris and representatives of the Peoria County Sheriff’s Office, the Peoria Police Department, the Illinois State Police, the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the parole division of the Illinois Department of Corrections and other federal agencies said the formation of the Peoria Area Federal Firearms (PAFF) task force shows the determination and the commitment of these agencies to reduce crime.
“Reducing gun violence in our communities requires cooperation, commitment, and determination,” Harris said in a news release. “Collaboration among federal, state, and local law enforcement partners is one of the most effective ways to combat violent gun crime.”
The task force itself isn’t new. Rather, it’s been operating since last fall and had already led to several federal charges that are currently pending.
Those cases, Harris said in the release, include charges for possession of a firearm as a felon and unlawful possession of a machine gun. One case involved charges for possession of machine gun conversion devices printed locally on a 3D printer.
The release listed three cases where the people involved have already pleaded guilty.
“Last year the Peoria Police Department was able to reduce gun violence by 28%, but that is not enough,” said Peoria Police Chief Eric Echevarria. “The Peoria Area Federal Firearms Task Force is another example of how our Department is using every resource and partnership available to reduce gun violence. “
“With the creation of this taskforce, we now have a team operating out of the Peoria Police Department streamlining the process of identifying, investigating, charging, and prosecuting violent offenders federally,” the chief said. “I remind everyone that we will not tolerate any violent crimes in our community. For those wanting to continue to victimize our community, we will continue to focus on you and bringing an end to the violence.”