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Mayor wants license-plate readers in Calumet City

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Thaddeus Jones

Calumet City Mayor Thaddeus Jones, who in his other role as state representative sponsored a bill to upgrade expressway camera technology, wants to have license-plate readers in the city.

CALUMET CITY — After seeing the success of license plate readers on expressways, Mayor Thaddeus Jones wants to bring the technology to the city's streets as well.

In his other governmental role as state representative for the 29th District, Jones sponsored the Tamara Clayton Expressway Camera Act, which Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law last year.

The bill, named for a postal worker who was fatally shot while driving to work on Interstate 57 in 2019, required the state to replace a previous system of cameras that was low-definition and did not record video with more modern equipment.

"To date, they've installed 200 of 399 cameras," Jones said last week. "They've caught 16 people using that expressway technology — carjackers, people who've been involved in shootings on the expressway."

While the initial focus has been on the Bishop Ford Freeway, Jones said the program will be expanded throughout the south suburbs.

Now, he said, he wants to bring the same technology to Calumet City's streets.

"It's a needed tool for our police," Jones said.

In other Calumet City news:

• Roadwork season is about to start, highlighted by two major projects. The city has earmarked $8 million for roadwork on Burnham Avenue and $4 million for Pulaski Road. An additional $4 million is budgeted for work on other streets.

• In an effort to help the city's businesses to bounce back after pandemic shutdowns and other challenges, the city is offering free, three- to five-minute promos to be aired on Calumet City cable access Ch. 4 and the city's YouTube page.

"When I started my administration, one of the goals was connecting the community to their city government," Jones said.

He said the city council members and other elected officials also will have the opportunity to produce short videos to help get their message out.

More information on the video program, including how to schedule a shoot, is available by emailing events coordinator/administrative associate Christina Signorelli at csignorelli@calumetcity.org.

• A new planning document, "Aging in Calumet City: A Strategic Guide," was created "in an effort to keep senior residents engaged within the community and (informed of) resources designed to assist them," the city said in a statement.

Calumet City is the first municipality in the south suburbs to become part of the AARP's Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities. 

Jones said some of the city's funding from the American Rescue Plan Act will be used to help seniors cope with inflation by providing them with gas cards. And he said the city is working with Pete's Fresh Market to provide free groceries for seniors.

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