As Chief of School Safety for Peoria Public Schools (PPS), Demario Boone oversees 27 campus officers and is charged with managing emergencies, conducting drills, mitigating problems and investigating incidents across the district. A native of Peoria, Chief Boone had his own challenging upbringing. Today, he is a shining example of what positive, supportive relationships can do for children.
A quote from Frederick Douglass guides Chief Boone in his life and profession: “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” He believes in early intervention, supporting students in difficult situations so they can make better outcomes, and empowers his officers to be positive role models and leaders, both on and off the job. His inclusive approach has created a positive culture and mutual respect between the officers and students.
Under Chief Boone’s leadership, the School Safety Department is a valuable resource not only to the district, but to the community at large. He developed the Gang Intervention Unit, providing mentors and guidance to help at-risk teens leave gangs and attain jobs. He worked with Northwoods Mall on security issues, greatly reducing the problems that were then spilling over into the schools, and re-established the department’s participation in monitoring a range of festivals and community events. He also organized PPS’ first Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner Giveaway, now an annual tradition in which officers lead the charge on fundraising and deliver meals to area families and homeless shelters.
Certified in active assailant training and student behavioral threat assessment, Chief Boone served on the team that created active assailant training for schools across Illinois. He is a visible presence at a range of school and community events, a supporter of the Dream Center and South Side Mission, and an adopter of the Little Free Library outside of Lincoln K-8 School. As a member of the City of Peoria’s Advisory Committee on Police Community Relations, he is a regular speaker at town hall and organization meetings. He is also trained as a racial justice and equity facilitator and was a panelist for the Peoria Summit on Racial Justice and Equity in March 2019. PM