Along with students who are settling into their new spaces on or near campus, one Peoria Police officer is adjusting to his new home near Bradley as well.
Peoria Police Officer Ryan Winkle is living in the West Bluff area at one of three locations around the city for a new police residency program. The program hosts officers in Peoria homes, free of charge, where officers patrol the neighborhood instead of reporting to the police station.
“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.”
Winkle moved into his home at 520 Armstrong Ave. the first week of August, after three weeks of training. He said the first few days in the neighborhood were a little rocky.
“During the first week, someone broke all the windows of my personal car,” he said.
After that initial problem, Winkle said living in the neighborhood has improved.
“There were a few negative things here and there, but otherwise it’s been really positive,” he said. “I’ve had neighbors come up to the door and introduce themselves and made decent friends in the neighborhood.”
The impact of a Peoria police officer in the Armstrong-Ellis neighborhood has been beneficial, Winkle said. He said daytime burglaries were problematic, as well as hand-to-hand drug transactions in the street, but he said he has noticed crime diminish since moving into the neighborhood.
Winkle’s residency does not interfere with the BUPD’s patrolling. Although some areas overlap, Winkle said he is still patrolling just for the PPD.
Part of Winkle’s patrol area includes the apartments near Underhill Street and Main Street Commons. He said he hasn’t had trouble with Bradley students since moving in.
“I don’t see too many students around my house, but [the areas where students live] usually don’t have problems,” he said. “Sometimes there are scuffles between Bradley students and locals, but Bradley kids aren’t a problem.”
As crime has noticeably decreased since Winkle’s arrival, he said his next step is to help the appearance of the Armstrong-Ellis neighborhood.
“I’m networking with all my neighbors,” he said. “I’m leaning towards fixing the aesthetics of the houses, with new paint, cutting the grass, making them look better.”
Students in the area are welcome to knock on Winkle’s door with any problems or concerns. A sign with more information, including his contact information, will be installed soon on the front lawn.