Urban areas across the country have been ravaged by civil unrest sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer last week.
But businesses and residences in Peoria did not experience any looting or damage like stores in Phoenix or Scottsdale, officials said.
Peoria Police Department spokesman Brandon Sheffert said there was some minimal graffiti along a trail a few nights ago, but that is it.
He said police personnel will continue to provide service to Peoria citizens.
The police are prepared, constantly monitoring information and have plans in place, but the Peoria Police Department does not disclose staffing or deployment strategies, he said.
“We are thankful to our residents for their understanding, patience and support,” he said.
The non-emergency phone number for the Peoria Police Department is 623-773-8311. To file a report online, visit peoriaaz.gov/police.
At the request of local leaders and in coordination with state and local law enforcement, Gov. Doug Ducey issued a statewide declaration of emergency, with a week-long curfew in place effective 8 p.m May 30, and ending 5 a.m., June 8.
Mayor Cathy Carlat said keeping residents safe is the city of Peoria’s number one priority and acts of violence against people and property in this city will not be tolerated.
“As we each do our part to adhere to this statewide directive and overcome the unthinkable violence and aggression that we are witnessing, I want residents to know that Peoria’s police and fire-medical departments are exceptionally prepared and here to serve with strength and compassion,” she said in a statement.
“It’s deeply disturbing to see the destructive actions that have taken place across our country and I respect our governor’s quick action to mitigate the threat of this increasingly hostile behavior. This curfew is not intended to shut down our state or any city in Arizona; and it is not intended to restrict necessary actions such as travelling to and from work, attending religious services, seeking medical care, caring for others, and patronizing or operating private businesses. This directive is here to protect against large gatherings with unlawful and dangerous intentions; and it is here to protect lives and property.”
To comply with the curfew, Peoria officials will close entry to the Rio Vista Recreation Center, 8866 W. Thunderbird Road, as well as parks and park amenities at 7 p.m. nightly. This includes entry into paths, athletic fields, skate parks, tennis/pickleball/volleyball/basketball courts and dog parks at community and neighborhood parks.
Additionally, the June 2 city council meeting, has been moved to an earlier time. The study session will begin at 4 p.m. and the regular meeting will be at 5 pm. The meeting will still be available to view on Facebook, Youtube, Cox Ch 11 and Century Link Ch 8509.
Gov. Ducey said the declaration of the curfew gives law enforcement an additional tool to prevent against lawlessness that has been happening in Arizona and in cities across the country. Police will be equipped to make arrests of individuals who are planning to riot, loot or cause damage and unrest, he said in a statement.
“(The) declaration also authorizes an expanded National Guard mobilization to protect life and property throughout the state,” he said in a statement. “Our office will continue to communicate with local law enforcement to provide whatever resources we can.”
The governor’s order bans individuals from “using, sitting, standing, sitting traveling or being present on any public street or in any public place, including for the purpose of travel.”
By “public place,” the governor said it means “any place, whether on privately or publicly owned property, accessible to the general public.”
That specifically includes public streets, alleys, highways, driveways, sidewalks, parks, vacant lots and any “unsupervised property.”
The order was taken under the same laws which Ducey said gave him the authority to issue a “stay-at-home” order and restrict business operations due to COVID-19. Violations are a Class 1 misdemeanor, carrying up to six months in jail and a $2,500 fine — aside from any other charges that might be leveled against those arrested.
But there are broad exceptions, including for people going directly to and from work, attending religious services, trucking and delivery services and caring for a family member, friend or animal.
And there are several large loopholes, including patronizing or operating private businesses and “obtaining food.”
Mr. Sheffert said people are allowed to patronize businesses and are allowed to travel to and from work.
“Vehicles will not be stopped,” Mr. Sheffert said. “We will be addressing incidents as they occur.”
Philip Haldiman can be reached at 623-876-3697, email@example.com, or on Twitter @philiphaldiman.