PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Wednesday night, Dec. 9, Peoria police officers held their final “Walk and Talk” of the year, walking the residential streets around First English Lutheran Church in Peoria.

The officers dispersed throughout the roads in groups, knocking on doors and greeting community members. They each had a stack of flyers with community resources to pass out as well.

Peoria Police Chief Eric Echevarria said this is the last “Walk and Talk,” but they will start back up in early Spring 2022.

“We want to build trust with our community,” Chief Echevarria said, “legitimacy, and I think that’s what we’re doing. And we’re going to take steps to that and continue to let our community know that we are here for them, that enough is enough, and we’re going to be out here, we’re going to be in the community, and we’re going to continue to strive to make Peoria the best it can be.”

He said this final walk is especially important because it was requested from community members after a robbery at gunpoint occurred near the church the week prior.

“Our neighborhood is kind of reaching a point where they’re so frustrated with the continuation of crime like this,” Ryan Anderson, Senior Pastor at First English Lutheran Church, said, “and really yearning for peace, and are ready to band together and act to make that happen.”

Chief Echevarria acknowledged that walk and talks alone are not the answer to reducing violence in the community, but said it is one more tool in the police department’s toolbox to connect with the community.