"With that said, we certainly DO NOT wish to paint the picture that the Peoria Police Department is out of control or running rampant. In fact we believe that the overwhelming majority of officers protecting our homes and policing our neighborhoods are highly professional, ethical and valuable assets to the community.
However, we also believe that there are instances and times when non-professional behavior has been displayed and has assisted in undermining the public trust that the citizens must have in it’s local law enforcement agency.
We will not specifically name the victims nor the alleged offenders in this press conference. Much information has already been shared with the Police and is currently under review. We have every reason to believe that Peoria Police Chief Settingsgaard, who has embraced the opportunity to dialogue with the Pastors Assn. and the Pastoral community, will do a thorough, complete and fair evaluation of each particular allegation with the utmost integrity.
What we can share, is that based on the information that we have received, tensions have risen in some neighborhoods because of perceived unprofessional policing activities against some of our youth and has caused highly negative sentiments and rebellious actions toward authority.
In addition, there are other highly credible incidents, including one (in which an official complaint has been filed) where a reputable older aged, community member was verbally confronted in an unprofessional manner, tazed at least once from behind, prod-shocked 3 times while laying on the ground and kicked in the face while handcuffed, creating significant bruising and additional medical issues.
In this particular case, there was no drugs or weapons involved, and the person was merely responding, in a non threatening manner, to the arrest of a family member who was "facing the music" for an admitted charge.
This is particularly troubling for a number of reasons. At a grass roots level, this is a time when we are dealing with issues of trust between police and the residents of certain neighborhoods.
Many individuals who could report crime have no confidence due to what they have observed at times. As we have explained to police in great detail, these types of incidents do not foster open communication, and tend to destabilize individuals and neighborhoods emotionally.
It is our aim to foster a heightened awareness of both the problems and solutions to such behavior."
Although this issue is challenging and can be highly subjective, we hold fast to our premise that a safer community takes the committment of both the church, citizens of the community, and governmental agencies that professionally and adequately deliver services without exception. Citizens are the tax paying base on which the city and community exists. It is encumbent upon the leadership of the community at all levels to make it's best effort to accomodate the citizens they serve.
Although we feel that great efforts and strides have been and are being made we realize that there is a long way to go toward making the community better and more safe for ALL of it's citizens.
ANY citizen having experienced police abuse or brutality, and wishing to file a complaint should complete the Peoria Police Citizen Complaint Form and submit it as soon as possible. If any individual is having a problem dealing with the police directly, or simply needs assistance, information or direction, please contact Peoria Police Chief Steve Settingsgaard at (309)494-8334 or the Peoria Assn. Of Pastors at Dunamis1@netzero.com or (877)677-6599.