Peru police will meet with Illinois Valley Pistol Shrimp about security at games

Pioneer League team has had some incidents with unsupervised children

Southclaw Sam, the official mascot of the Illinois Valley Pistol Shrimp, sits with fans during the home opener against Rex Baseball on Thursday, June 2, 2022 at Veterans Park in Peru.

Peru’s police chief and deputy chief will meet Wednesday with Illinois Valley Pistol Shrimp officials to discuss security at Schweickert Stadium during future seasons.

There have been some issues with misbehaving children at games, said Police Chief Bob Pyszka at Monday’s council meeting.

Recently, the Pistol Shrimp issued a policy forbidding children from attending games without an adult, but then walked it back later that day, instead strongly encouraging parents to accompany their children.

Pyszka said Peru police have been called to five incidents the entire summer — one was a juvenile who had a knife in his possession from working earlier that day, didn’t threaten anyone or cause any issues with it, but police escorted him off the premises. Another incident was a fight between two juveniles over a cellphone. Additionally, police responded to an ambulance call, a burglary to a vehicle and a man who locked himself in the restroom.

The Peru chief said the Pistol Shrimp have dealt with other incidents without calling the police and Pyszka would like to ask what those incidents involved. The chief also added Peru police have conducted 16 walkthroughs with no incidents.

He said the Pistol Shrimp had their own security last year and the police received little to no calls, and this year they don’t have their own security.

Alderman Aaron Buffo said whether it is the Pistol Shrimp reimbursing the city for the police, or they supply their own security, he would like something to be put in place, because of the number of people the sporting event attracts on a regular basis.

Alderman Tom Payton agreed.

Pyszka said the Peru police have an arrangement with La Salle-Peru High School at football games for three off-duty officers to supply security, with the school paying for two of the three officers.

Alderman Mike Sapienza said he would like to hear what the Pistol Shrimp want and have the police chief report back to the council. Mayor Ken Kolowski said he and other officials also are meeting with the Pistol Shrimp next week, and the issue can be raised then as well.

When asked if adults have caused any issues, Pyszka said none have required police attention.