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Peoria’s North Valley gets resident officer

Officer Keith Burwell’s home officially christened this week

By Chris Kaergard

Journal Star

PEORIA — The city's newest home for a resident officer was officially christened Wednesday morning, a few months after Officer Keith Burwell officially took up his post there.

The North Valley home at 1011 NE Madison Ave. is the fifth such location at which an officer lives and works, on call 24- 7, and is expected to be out fostering connections in the community. That includes meeting with neighborhood associations and addressing quality- of- life issues, Police Chief Loren Marion said.

City officials, urged on by then- City Councilman Ryan Spain, began work on the program 13 years ago. Spain said Wednesday it has paid dividends ' improving and stabilizing our neighborhoods.'

Other homes are located in South Peoria, Central Peoria, the East Bluff and the West Bluff.

Marion said in the neighborhoods surrounding each of the previous sites the department had seen a reduction in major crimes, as well as a reduction in calls for service.

To the latter, though, he stressed that he hoped residents would be more comfortable both interacting with police and in calling them to address problems.

Many neighborhoods have expressed interest in participating in the program, although Marion said sites are chosen based on locations where statistics show a greater need.

Work on the home was started after Build Peoria, an organization of young professionals in the Peoria area, selected the construction of a new resident officer house as its annual project.

In addition to community donations, there has also been community assistance with the home — built in 1925 by a stonemason whose descendants became local police — and significant help from members of local trade unions and a local contractor, Build Peoria president Nick Yates said.

' We're more than elated to see what the community has done to come together to build the house,' he said.

Peoria Police resident officer Keith Burwell and Peoria city councilwoman Denise Moore stand Wednesday before Burwell’s residence at 1011 NE Madison Ave in Peoria, recently completed with funds collected by Build Peoria.The resident officer project is the most recent annual fundraising project selected by Build Peoria. [DAVID ZALAZNIK/JOURNAL STAR]

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