That’s the happy news of the day, delivered in a news conference attended by Mayor Jim Ardis, Peoria Police Chief Steve Settingsgaard, Peoria County Sheriff Mike McCoy, and U.S. Representatives Aaron Schock and Mark Kirk.
Meanwhile, Kirk said, the city of Peoria is able to dedicate just 20 officers to anti-gang units. “We need to make sure a local city or town is not overwhelmed by the resources of a gang,” Kirk said.
I’d just like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that the City is still contemplating laying off police officers while concurrently planning to fork over $39.5 million to a private developer for a new downtown hotel. You see, Peoria’s Mayor and City Council don’t mind raising taxes for risky private ventures, but balk at tax increases for public safety.
Kirk pointed out that the average age for a gang member involved in a shooting is the equivalent of an eighth-grade student; that the combined size of U.S. gangs would create the fifth-largest army in the world, with at least 1 million members; and that state sentencing in court is not significant enough to use for leverage.
I wonder if any of these teenage gang members attend Peoria Public Schools, and if combining a couple of urban high schools will lead to any violence among said gang members. It’s a good thing we’ll have extra officers on hand when this happ– oh, wait…..