PEORIA, Ill. — A new addition to the East Bluff community in Peoria is making families feel safe. Officer Jerry James Jr. received a warm welcome from neighbors Tuesday, at the East Bluff Community Center.
James Jr. is the new resident officer in the community and lives at the East Bluff Neighborhood Housing Services home on Wisconsin Ave.
“I think Officer James will be a good asset to the neighborhood, I look forward to that,” Randy Williams, minister at Glen Oak Christian Church said.
Neighbors waited their turn to meet Officer James, ready to get to know the man who will help protect their community.
I think he’s really enthusiastic about his job he seems to be ready to dive in a get to know the neighborhood so that’s exciting.Nancy Long, East Bluff neighbor
Community members said the consistent crime in the East Bluff leaves them feeling uneasy.
“We’re a little more alert than we used to be, a little more concerned,” Long said. “No one wants to feel like their home isn’t safe.”
Knowing an officer plans to dedicate his service to the community makes them feel safer.
My goal is to do as much as I can in any way shape or form I can, but if [it is] something I can’t I [will] allocate to a resource that could.Resident Officer, East Bluff Neighborhood Housing Services
Officer James Jr. said he is adamant about building relationships with families in the neighborhood.
“In this position, it gives me a chance to have longer contact with people and communication, being able to follow up…” Officer James Jr. said.
Neighbors also said his desire to communicate with all in the area could help him gain the trust of the people.
“One of the things I think his presence does is it helps us build trust with the police department and as trust occurs people are likely to report crime when they experience it,” Williams said.
Officer James Jr. said he is ready to uphold his duties and even hopes to mentor children in the process.