Plainfield police deal with budget limitations
By Madhu Mayer Correspondent October 30, 2012 11:36AM
Updated: December 5, 2012 6:14AM
Just like most people strained by the nation’s economic downturn, the Plainfield Police Department has been asked to do more with less.
Police Chief John Konopek said the department has lowered expenses by reducing staff and consolidating services whenever it can. It also means keeping older squads in the fleet longer than when times were good.
“Our (proposed) budget is status quo as the current year,” said the chief during Monday’s committee of the whole workshop. “We are not looking at major increases. Our personnel has taken on more responsibilities.”
In fact, he said Plainfield has only 1.27 sworn police officers per 1,000 residents, which is the second lowest in the state compared to communities similar in size to the village. The Illinois State Police recommends 1.8 sworn officers per 1,000 residents.
Plainfield has 51 sworn officers, plus 19 full-time and 14 part-time civilian employees.
Konopek said the 2013-14 budget for the department proposes $11.16 million in expenses, compared to $11.05 million in the current budget. The village’s budget for fiscal year 2013-14 covering police and other departments will not be considered for adoption until spring.
Whenever it can, Konopek said the department makes good use of asset seizures.
“We have purchased over $150,000 in equipment using asset forfeitures,” he said.
Village Administrator Brian Murphy said the village is in a much better financial position than three years ago.
“With the group effort we have taken on, we have made fantastic strides,” said Murphy. “But we still have heavy lifting to do,” alluding to the village’s general fund that proposes $20.92 million in expenses and $20.98 million in revenues for the upcoming fiscal year.
In 2009, the village had a deficit of $3.7 million in the general fund.
Trustee Margie Bonuchi commended department heads for drafting a lean budget.