Trustees approved Police Chief John Konopek's request to spend $93,265 on fixed cameras, which will replace outdated equipment at the police department on Coil Plus Drive as well as Village Hall and Settlers' Park.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