Plainfield Board Approves Surveillance Cameras

Meadow Lane traffic signals also OK'd.

Credit: File photo
Credit: File photo
The village gave the OK for the Plainfield Police Department to spend more than $150,00 on surveillance cameras and a mobile camera trailer on Monday.

Trustees approved Police Chief John Konopek's request to spend $93,265 on fixed cameras, which will replace outdated equipment at the police department on Coil Plus Drive as well as Village Hall and Settlers' Park.

Cameras will also be placed at Riverfront Park, with a $10,000 contribution from the Riverfront Foundation, Konopek said.

He said the cameras are needed at the park since more groups are becoming interested in holding events there and as the Riverfront Foundation continues to develop the property. 

According to Konopek, there have been instances of people off-roading or parking at the site for illicit activities after hours. "It is a little secluded back there," he said.

While police would be able to monitor the cameras for illegal activity and keep an eye out during events like Midwest Brewers Fest, the Riverfront Foundation would also have access to the cameras.

Konopek said cameras placed near downtown Plainfield have come in handy in the past during big events like Plainfield Fest. Last year, he said cameras allowed officers to be dispatched in time to head off several fights before they escalated.

That kind of watchful eye didn't sit well with trustee Jim Racich.

"We are policing our people entirely too much," Racich said, adding the issue reminded him of George Orwell's "1984:" "Big Brother is watching," he said. 

"The vast majority of the public — I would even say 99 percent — are good people," Konopek said. He added that the cameras help police do their job of protecting those people, and that technology gives police an edge when they can't be everywhere at once.

According to Konopek, the cameras also have an audio system that will allow police to warn attendees at large events of emergencies including severe weather.

In addition to the cameras, the village board OK'd $63,495 to purchase a HYBRID mobile camera trailer from a company called FedTech. Along with Racich, trustee Dan Rippy voted against that purchase, saying the cost is too high.

The money will come from drug asset forfeiture funds, according to Konopek.

Meadow Lane/Route 126 traffic signal

Trustees also approved spending $54,650 for a traffic signal and roadway improvements at Meadow Lane and Route 126.

That amount represents about 9 percent of the project's cost, Director of Public Works Allen Persons said. The Illinois Department of Transportation will pay the remaining 91 percent, he said.

The board inked an agreement with IDOT for the project, which will include total reconstruction and resurfacing of Meadow Lane between Willow Drive and Freedom Way, along with new curbs and gutters, dedicated turn lanes and crosswalks, along with the new traffic signal.

"There is a need here," Persons said, citing school and bus traffic due to nearby schools.

Watch the June 16 village board meeting on YouTube.
Vicky Polito June 18, 2014 at 09:19 AM
I think the idea for a vehicle that is more agile and mobile that could be used in a crisis to notify crowds to take shelter, etc., is good, but I agree the idea of being under constant watch is creepy and it certainly isn't cheap. This seems to be a locomotive we can't stop: cameras are just everywhere, including in more and more people's hands. How many times is video made available to the world because someone pulls their smart phone out of their pocket? And, don't even get me started on things like Google Glass, something that in less than 10 years when people are having micro-chips implanted near their temples to allow them to connect to computers and the internet--and to record what they see--will look like a tool as rudimentary as antiquated as a manual typewriter. It's all weird and worrisome, but I think it will only get more prevalent. I don't like the idea of the surveillance at the Riverfront. Also, Garrett Peck should have recused himself from the vote for the light at Rt. 126 and Meadow Lane. He lives in Liberty Grove, the s/d most impacted by this decision, and this clearly did not require his vote to be accomplished.
Joki2 June 18, 2014 at 09:29 AM
Waste of money to purchase these cameras. This is Plainfield why can't a patrol officer drive through this so called Riverwalk Park every so often. Just wondering if this Riverwalk will ever actually develop into an attraction area for the citizens to enjoy. Seems as though a lot of money is being put into this Riverwalk however it really has nothing to show for it. Money seems to be going into fixing up the existing lone structure on the property but what good is that to citizens of Plainfield. How about a walking/jogging path, soccer field, ice arena in the winter, dog park, just something to draw people into the park that would useful to citizens of Plainfield. Nothing is in this Park why put cameras inside of it?
Michelle June 18, 2014 at 10:18 AM
What is a HYBRID mobile camera trailer? And why does a trailer cost 63 thousand dollars?
my conscience June 18, 2014 at 10:26 AM
Never mind. Go back to work and pay your taxes.
C.W.G June 18, 2014 at 02:24 PM
I agree that the Riverfront park does need some extra eyes (I hear fireworks and cars speeding around there all night) but all these cameras are creepy to me! This is a lot of money to be spending on what seems to be picking out a few trouble makers or problems. The crime isn't THAT bad in DT Plainfield!


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