PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The City of Peoria’s Advisory Committee on Police Community Relations held a virtual town hall at 6:00 p.m. Thursday.

The town hall focused on public health and youth resources. The meeting provided an opportunity for Peoria residents to provide ideas and feedback to the panelists.

The discussion was moderated by Shalandra Barnes Burch with the Illinois Department of Corrections, with panelists Derrick Booth with the Wraparound Resource Center at Trewyn School, Dr. Leslie McKnight, with the Peoria City-County Public Health Department, Chief of Peoria Public Schools Demario Boone, and Terry Burnside with House of Hope.

Boone discussed how they respond to student issues that start on social media.

“Officers, they will actually go to homes, they’ll talk to parents, they will mentor and counsel students, we work hand in hand with the councilors that are in the building, councilors that are under Coach Booth at wraparound, to try and diagnose solutions to those issues,” Boone said. “We have several officers who are very tech-savvy monitoring Facebook, kids are so comfortable with officers that they share Facebook or social media issues, we are able to head them off before they get into the school doors.”

Boone also mentioned that school safety starts at home.

“It really starts at home with school safety, …reach out if you need help, and try to have the students come to school with the least amount of trauma as possible,” Boone said. “It’s a lot harder to put that genie back in the bottle when there is a lot of trauma at home, a lot of trauma on the streets, and then they’re coming into the school building, and we are trying to fix that on top of teaching them and educating them.”

Also during the town hall, Dr. McKnight discussed how gun violence is a public health crisis. She said that the number of homicides has increased 150% since 2015.

“Because the injuries and mortality rate are growing exponentially, so gun violence in Peoria is a public health crisis, not only for the victims and the perpetrators, but there are residual effects of family members, community members, and the city as a whole,” McKnight said.

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

Anyone who would like information on how to attend the next meeting can contact Christina Kirby at