Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Civility - 1, Thug Punks - 0

That's the score so far for the Summer '09 Event Season.

Yesterday's PJStar reported that Holy Family Heritage Days was held without incident following the execution of a collaborative community effort to reduce teen violence. Last year unexpected random teen violence caused the same event to end sooner than planned. It's a great article and is some welcome good news for the city of Peoria.
PEORIA — If you plan to attend summer festivals this year, expect to be greeted with a list of rules: No baggy pants, no plain T-shirts, and no cursing.

Because of fights breaking out among crowds of teenagers during 2008 summer festivals, more than two dozen certified volunteers through Carl Cannon's ELITE Youth program are being called to action.

Their first stop was Holy Family Church's Heritage Days during the last weekend in May.

"We went incident free, knock on wood," Cannon said. "We raised the bar and put it on the youth to live up to the standards that we expect."

No arrests were made at the event, according to Capt. Lisa Snow of the Peoria Police Department.

Before entrance to the event, youths had to agree with a code of conduct and dress code, which were posted on signs at the entrance.

We are all quick to criticise our city leaders for their perceived shortcomings, but we tend to fall short when it comes to offering the appropriate accolades for a job well done. According to the article, the services and counsel of Carl Cannon will continue to be retained throughout the summer at Riverfront and city sponsored events. Thank you to the Peoria Police Department, Mayor Ardis and the City of Peoria, and particularly Carl Cannon and his Elite Youth Program and volunteers for their collaborative efforts, their innovative problem solving, and a willingness to continue to serve our community.

I found this point in the PJStar article to be the most revealing:
While some thought event attendance may be lowered because of these stricter guidelines, the last two days of Heritage Days saw an increase in attendance, according to Sollberger.

If people feel safe, attendance and participation will be enhanced - basic common sense we can apply to all city and school district business. The efforts undertaken to stop teen violence sends a strong message that we will not surrender our community or our schools to thugs!

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Diane,

I have gone to HF Heritage days for six years and noticed the crowd seemed to get rougher in the later hours. However, this year was an incredible improvement with the ELITE team in place. They did a fantastic job! I look forward to seeing them at the other events in Peoria this summer.

Mike

EMERGE said...

If the dress code is posted, what exactly does the ELITE team do? Are they at the front gate,or will they interact with the crowds?

Anonymous said...

Wait until you have an event downtown or near until you raise the flag of victory. If you think these hoodlums are going to pay any atttention to kids in t-shirts you are crazy. Now, having Carl Cannon and his muscle is a different story. good luck!

Anonymous said...

Wait until you have an event downtown or near until you raise the flag of victory. If you think these hoodlums are going to pay any atttention to kids in t-shirts you are crazy. Now, having Carl Cannon and his muscle is a different story. good luck!

Mary Jo said...

Emerge, the ELITE team is at the gate AND going throughout the crowd.... some uniformed and some "under-cover". They did an EXCELLENT job at Heritage days. All of the people there felt very SAFE. Made for higher enjoyment for all!!

Diane Vespa said...

Mary Jo - they also did a great job at steamboat days. I saw their rules posted and they seemed very reasonable. I asked security if they were having any trouble with it and they shook their head no. They say a few guys had to hike up their pants and a few girls needed a few wardrobe adjustments but everyone was understood and was very good natured about it. It's all about expectations! ;)

Anonymous said...

I think it is fantastic. I also think that if the city itself had done the exact same thing, there would have been cries of racism. Interesting by focusing on the behavioral and dress expectations, things fall into place! I hope they succeed with other venues and the community as a whole will do better policing itself. It's not about rights, but responsibilities and appropriate behavior and respect.