Forest Park Village Council unanimously approved a contract to not only replace aging and malfunctioning security cameras at the village facilities, but also add security cameras to municipal buildings that don’t currently have them.

This has been a long-term priority for the village. In a memo to Village Administrator Moses Amidei, Police Chief Ken Gross said security cameras in village hall and the police station complex, 517 Desplaines Ave., are out of date, and one of the police station cameras isn’t working. He also wrote that the security cameras at the Mohr Community Center, 7640 Jackson Blvd., “are not functioning properly,” and the village can’t view the live feed due to a technical issue. 

The contract also includes putting in cameras at the Public Works building, 7343 W. 15th St., and the pump stations that store and distribute the drinking water Forest Park gets from Chicago. The council awarded the contract to Elmhurst-based Griffon Systems, which supplied and installed traffic cameras and license plate readers throughout the village last year. The $108,369 contract is funded entirely through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) federal stimulus funding.

In his memo, Gross mentioned several issues. The security camera software hasn’t been updated since at least 2017, and video from the cameras that do work “is not the best quality.” Since the current cameras were installed, technology has improved, and the village can now get higher-definition cameras.

According to the Griffon Systems memo to the village, they will be supplying cameras made by Vancouver, British Columbia-based Avigilon Alta. The cameras will utilize online-based cloud storage.

Forest Park has two pumping stations that, together, manage drinking water — one behind the Mohr Community Center, 7644 Jackson Blvd., and one on the northeast corner of the Park District of Forest Park’s main park, 711 Hannah Ave. Gross wrote that neither of them currently have security cameras, which is a problem because they are “key pieces of infrastructure.” According to Griffon’s proposal, the Jackson Boulevard station will have two cameras at the front and one in the rear, with the two also watching the entryway between the station and the community center. The Hannah Avenue station will have a camera placed at the rear, watching the parking lot.

The community center’s new cameras will watch the playground behind the building — which rests on top of the pumping station reservoir — and two cameras watching the parking lot in front of the building. There will also be cameras in the lobby, daycare and other areas used for community programs. 

The Public Works building will get three cameras that will collectively cover the parking lot at the south end of the building and the storage area to the west of it. 

In his memo, Gross wrote that he was pleased with the way Griffon’s traffic cameras worked. Having the security cameras using the same hardware and software as the other equipment would “create a streamlined system for viewing and saving” security footage village-wide. During the meeting, Amidei said it will let the village have “one system that interfaces with everything.”

Earlier during the July 24 meeting, the village council approved an ARPA budget that allocated $114,000 toward replacing the cameras.