Citing the potential benefits of license plate readers after recent incidents, Centerville Police Department received town council’s support to purchase one and will seek additional Wayne County’s help to buy another.
Police Chief Ed Buchholz said security cameras around town have gathered evidence for everything from homicide trials to porch swing thefts.
Buchholz heard about the plate readers previously and thought they were out of Centerville’s price range, but he reconsidered after noting the police hours invested in one recent investigation would have paid for half of the device. Readers cost about $5,300 for two years.
There was no discussion of related concerns about resident civil liberties. Legal experts elsewhere have noted that the storage, retention and sharing of information gathered by some kinds of license plate readers might violate privacy protections.
Buchholz said a hit-and-run accident a couple days before council’s Jan. 9 meeting could have easily been solved with the device.
Councilor Jack Bodiker said readers could provide added safety for officers who will be quickly notified if “someone bad is coming through” town and assist with Silver or Amber Alerts.
- Council heard bids for Community Crossings road paving (four), roofing (one) and interior renovations (five) for the new town hall (former US Bank branch) and demolition of a home at 206 N. Spruce St. (two).
Council, engineers, Town Manager Kevin Slick and attorney Ed Martin will review them before council’s 7 p.m. Jan. 30 work session.
- Council also heard a presentation from Comcast about installing fiber communications lines for all town buildings including the new town hall, utility buildings and police and fire stations. It would also include blocks against cybersecurity threats.
Comcast would absorb the approximately $97,000 installation fee but the town would pay about $4,900 per month. Construction would take 4 to 6 months. Council will discuss the proposal.
In other business
- Some councilors will oversee new departments: Gary Holbert, water and fire; Josh Tudor, wastewater/stormwater; David Cate, electric; and Jack Bodiker, streets.
- Fire/police departments appreciate donations toward 114 food boxes they delivered at Christmas; funds have begun coming in for 2024.
- Centerville Fire/Rescue Assistant Chief Phil Bedel reported the volunteer department is at full staff with 25 members, which hasn’t happened for several years. CFR has agreed to again provide fire protection for Center Township.
- Council approved 2024’s trash schedule to be included in the next bill.
- The town is finishing its Indiana Resilience grant application to upgrade its electrical system. Centerville would need to pay 38%. Slick said parts aren’t available for the “antiquated” substation.
“We’re holding our breath now,” Wandersee said.
- Main Street Centerville will seek approval from INDOT for its plans to install more self-watering flower pots along U.S. 40.
- Chloe Brown, who works at Turner & Shepherd Insurance, will oversee the Main Street organization’s eclipse activities.
A version of this article appeared in the January 17 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.