PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Peoria Police Chief Eric Echevarria was at the police department Monday afternoon to address the recent wave of violence in the city.
Chief Echevarria turned to community leaders for solutions to violence in Peoria. He said the police department is focusing on connecting to people to find and fix problems in Peoria.
There have been 24 people killed in the city this year.
“I don’t like what’s going on and that’s why we’re continuing to push forward. We’re doing things that have never been done here,” said Echevarria.
Echevarria said he’s working to stop the violence.
“One of the biggest things that we need to continue to do is let the community know that we’re here for them,” said Echevarria.
He believes some of the violence stems from two groups but said it’s not gang structure or organized.
“Nobody’s been able to answer to me where this issue originated, why there are two groups if you will, or two areas that are at war in the city. And nobody can pinpoint for me where this all started, how did we get here,” said Echevarria.
He’s going to where the people are, including at church. On Monday, he met with a group of about 30 church leaders.
“The clergy and our religious leaders in the community have a pulse on what’s going on in the community,” said Echevarria.
Later this month, he’s partnering with OSF St. Francis and a trauma doctor to meet with a group of women.
“The sisters, the mothers, the grandmothers, the aunts, all together, all that have been touched by this violence in a single room,” said Echevarria.
He said they can help prevent problems. The next step is a resource fair to connect Peorians to what’s available. Chief Echevarria said he is trying innovative solutions.
“Every tool in the toolbox that’s available, I want to reach out to, I want to be a part of,” said Echevarria.