Work on the fifth Peoria Police Resident Officer home is now completed.
Officials celebrated the dedication of the house in Peoria's North Valley neighborhood with a ribbon cutting on Wednesday.
Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis said officers living in and interacting with residents in the neighborhoods they serve is important for strengthening police/community relations.
"Our ability to have these officers in the neighborhoods doing that is really, we feel, going to be a strong continued step forward in improving those relationships," he said.
Officer Keith Burwell moved into the home at 1011 NE Madison back in May, but the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic delayed the formal dedication.
"I've worked this neighborhood a long time, and I hope I can do a good job," said Burwell.
Four other resident officer homes are scattered across the East Bluff, South Side, and West Bluff. Police Chief Loren Marion III touted the program's success.
"In looking at our stats at the other resident officer locations, we have seen a reduction in major crimes throughout each of those locations over the years, ever since the resident officer's house got established," Marion said.
However, Marion said calls for service sometimes increase in the area around a resident officer house as the neighborhood begins to trust the police to handle issues more frequently.
"These programs are not just important for our neighborhoods and our police department, but they show meaningful impact on making safety a priority and improving and stabilizing our neighborhoods," said state Rep. Ryan Spain,R-Peoria.
The house was refurbished by Build Peoria, a nonprofit that undertakes a different community improvement project each year. The home was donated by Habitat for Humanity.
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