As Bradley students prepare to move out of dorms and houses in the next couple of weeks, a police officer plans to move into the neighborhood.
Officer Ryan Winkle of the Peoria Police Department (PPD) is taking up residence in the West Bluff at the end of May through a police residency program. Winkle will be at one of three police residency locations in Peoria and the first officer to move in.
“This goes back to the old school officers back in the day, where officers lived in neighborhoods,” Winkle said. “I think when police officers [lived in residential neighborhoods] it worked better, where everyone knew the officer and where he lived.”
The program is similar to one started in the 1990s in Elgin, Ill., Winkle said. In 2010, the PPD created an ad hoc task force in response to 70 plus shootings throughout the year. The temporary task force halted crime for some time, Winkle said, but once the program dissolved crime picked back up.
Today, the PPD plans to put officers in residential neighborhoods that are “hot spots” to crime, Winkle said. The three neighborhoods include the East Bluff, the Southside and the West Bluff, where Winkle will stay at 520 Armstrong Ave.
“I think having a residential officer will help give residents a feeling of safety and put fear in people [who are criminals],” Winkle said.
The program allows the police residences to be officers’ bases, free of charge. Instead of reporting to a police station, officers will stay at the home. Winkle said the program will not interfere with Bradley Police patrolling, and he will patrol the neighborhood for the PPD specifically.
“I’ll be patrolling on bike and on foot instead of a marked police car,” he said. “It leaves an element of surprise.”
Recently elected City Councilman Chuck Grayeb, who presides over the West Bluff, said the program will be beneficial to Bradley students.
“I think it’s a very constructive program, and the imbed house is a stone’s throw away from Bradley,” he said. “I know the Peoria Police work very well with the Bradley Police, and we want to continue that relationship. I think having an imbed house right there on Armstrong really strengthens it.”
Once he moves in, Winkle said he will go door to door and introduce himself with residents. He said he doesn’t anticipate having any issues with Bradley students once he begins to patrol.
“I love Peoria, I grew up in Peoria,” he said. “I grew up in a neighborhood next to the West Bluff, and played by Bradley all the time. I love this city and its citizens.”
Officer Ryan Winkle
- Moving in 520 Armstrong Ave. in May
- Available to speak in person by knocking on his door
- Contact information will be available on a front lawn sign