Pictured above: Our very own East Bluff Neighborhood Resident Officer Jerry James.

Keeping Our Community Safe: A Conversation with Officer Jerry James

By: Grayson Bourke

The East Bluff Community Center (EBCC) is committed to neighborhood stabilization. The East Bluff Community Center is used for many things by many different people: as a home for community organizations such as 90.7 WAZU Strictly Hip Hop, as a place for culinary arts and painting classes, and as a hub for community engagement. Offering these and other vital community services at the EBCC adds to the East Bluff’s stability. We are here to serve the community.

This fall Grayson Bourke, an Applied Community and Economic Development Fellow through Illinois State University’s Stevenson Center, completed a neighborhood assessment in our community. This assessment took the form of a three-question survey. This survey asked East Bluff residents about their thoughts on the EBCC’s future, which skills or interests they have or may be interested in learning at the EBCC, and what they view as assets in Peoria’s East Bluff. With the help of EBCC staff, board members, and the Peoria County Health Department, the EBCC spoke with over 230 households and recorded their thoughts.

When it comes to the East Bluff’s top recommendations for the EBCC to focus on, the community stated that youth development opportunities (35.14%), public safety and reducing crime (25.52%), and community beautification (11.29%) are the top priorities. The EBCC supports youth development by partnering with organizations such as Boys and Girls Club of Greater Peoria as well as Knock Out Kings Boxing and the Peoria Art Guild. The EBCC is supportive of beautifying the neighborhood and just sponsored this year’s Great American Cleanup. When it comes to public safety and reducing crime, the EBCC has a close working relationship with Neighborhood Services Unit Resident Officer, Jerry James.

Officer James, in addition to his services as a Resident Officer, is big supporter of the EBCC. He views the EBCC as “a main focal point in the East Bluff” from a resource standpoint. James stated that he also views crime prevention as a community effort: “the EBCC is a really good starting point. Collectively, I can see the EBCC bringing people in. It should be a team effort because when we work as a team, we work so much better.” Thank you so much for all you do to keep our community safe, Officer James!

Officer James has been a police officer in Peoria for about five years. He lives in the East Bluff Neighborhood Housing Services (EBNHS) building on the corner of Nebraska Street and Wisconsin Avenue and is typically available during the day to answer questions and help residents. He is here to encourage residents to work together to solve crime and to be a resource for the community. Officer James is here to serve the East Bluff exclusively and can be reached at (309) – 265 – 4807 or jjames@peoriagov.org.