Peoria Public Radio News
6:30 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Filling police vacancies in Peoria and other city issues

The Peoria Police Officer’s Union is asking why 18 vacancies in the department are not being filled more quickly. 

The City Council approved the hire of six new officers with a federal community policing grant late last fall. There are 12 other vacancies in the department also waiting to be filled. 

Eric Ellis is the police union president.

"We’re very concerned with the level of service we expect to bring to the citizens of Peoria and of the safety of our own officers regarding these personnel not being hired.” 

Ellis says the union doesn't know why officers are not being hired as originally planned. 

Peoria City Manager Patrick Urich says it’s a matter of how quickly the city can get new officers hired and trained. He says a paperwork issued stopped the city from being able to get new would-be cadets into the required state Police Training Institute for January. The next class is April. 

The Police Department also has a waiting list of potential hires. The chief says as many as six of them may already have completed the P.T.I.. 

Roads Update

Significant bumps in the road on Peoria streets are troubling many drivers. Public Works Director Mike Rogers says the harsh freeze and thaw coupled with rain so far this winter have taken a toll on the many road surfaces in the city. He says public works crews are filling the potholes as they find them. 

Rogers says the city is operating first and third shifts of drivers. He says they are treating slick spots on the roads and addressing the potholes the remainder of their shift. A new piece of equipment called a Hot Box is allowing some of the workers to keep the fill material warm and pliable in cold weather. 

Sports Complex Update

The Louisville Slugger Sports Complex proposed for Orange Prairie Road was scheduled to go before the Peoria Planning Commission Wednesday. The item has been deferred.

A special Planning Commission meeting to address the proposal is expected in about two weeks. The Zoning Commission hears the case February sixth and the City Council vote is slated for February 11, 2014. 

The Western Avenue Grocery Store rally

The Aldi on Western in Peoria that’s closing Thursday, January 23, 2014 has the concern of some city leaders. 

Peoria City Councilwoman Denise Moore represents the First District where the store is located. She says the departure of the store means the south side neighborhood will be a food desert and convenience store dependent for many people who don’t have cars.  

A group called Southside Community United for Change is rallying at 11:00a.m. Saturday, January 18, 2014 at the Aldi on Western in an effort to save the store.