UPDATE (11:49 a.m.) — Peoria Public Schools answered questions on security changes at IHSA basketball games Wednesday.
PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Peoria Police Chief Eric Echevarria and District 150’s Superintendent Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat answered some questions related to the increased security and police presence for Wednesday’s IHSA basketball games at Peoria High School.
Echevarria stated that the increased security was offered preemptively by the police.
On Tuesday, Peoria Public Schools announced that they would be instituting new safety precautions in collaboration with Peoria police.
The new safety precautions included limited ticket sales, increased police presence, an earlier start time for the games, and administrators and police recommended no bags.
During a press conference on Wednesday, Echevarria said these changes stem from recent citywide shootings. He said there have been three specific shootings within the past two weeks where there were more than 160 shots fired.
He said these shootings were possibly related to homicides from 2020 and 2022.
“These incidents involved numerous types of caliber rounds that include both pistols and high capacity rifle rounds,” Echevarria said.
Echevarria stated that there has been no specific threat made to the games at this time.
“There have not been any direct threats to any of the schools or these specific basketball events,” Echevarria said. “However the Peoria Police Department does have an obligation to do whatever is necessary to protect our community, our students, and our families from violence and that is what this is about.
Dr. Kherat said she anticipated that not everyone will like these changes, but she said she’d rather be safe than sorry.
“I would rather apologize for inconveniences than for other fatal situations,” Kherat said. “So this change may be an inconvenience for a lot of folks but it’s definitely a safety measure.”
Echevarria also stated that the increased security is not expected to be the standard procedure for the rest of the season. He said they’ll handle these situations one at a time and they will have discussions on how to handle future events.
Anyone who wishes to watch the games virtually can do so at Clutch Sports and ciproud.com.