PLAINFIELD, NJ - The first of three Public Safety listening sessions in the Plainfield Vision 2025 series brought neighbors together at the high school on Wednesday evening.
The breakout groups batted around ideas on quality of life, general safety, coordination and cooperation, and enforcement.
The first group addressed the need for police to get out of their cars, and to be assigned to particular neighborhoods so residents have a chance to get to know officers, and vice versa. It was noted that New Jersey Transit police are never seen at the Plainfield and Netherwood stations; there needs to be more of a presence by them.
It was said that speeding, public intoxication and loitering need to be addressed more, and a goal should be to target Front Street, to keep it clean with such a large number of businesses lining the street. The image could help attract more businesses to the area.
Litter as a quality of life issue was brought up, and residents said there is a real need to decrease it at train stations, on school properties, and in the downtown area, where more garbage receptacles should be placed. Stakeholders would include PMUA, DPW and police, and the Board of Education for schools. The subject of being able to opt out of having the advertisements thrown in one's driveway was also brought up.
Additionally, residents want to see block associations across Plainfield, with support from the city, and an annual meet and greet. Stakeholders would be residents, police, business owners, the City Council, and SID. Obstacles would be a lack of manpower and volunteers.
Coordination with neighboring towns' police departments is needed to decrease the unfair profiling of Plainfield residents when they leave the city limits. Stakeholders would include police forces and mayors in neighboring communities, and success would be a significant drop in traffic stops.
Vic Webb, who was presenting the ideas generated at his table said, "we want to invite other communities to come to Plainfield. So we want people to feel comfortable coming here, but we also want to feel safe" leaving town.
It was noted that there is a need to increase public awareness of what's available in the city with respect to disaster planning. The Plainfield Rescue Squad member who spoke said that residents should know there are disaster training services available through the Rescue Squad, offering CPR and First Aid, and CERT, the Community Emergency Response Team. CERT helps train people to be better prepared to respond to emergency situations in their communities.
Speakers said there should be a greater presence of these services highlighted on the city's website, and other avenues like social media.
It was suggested that the EMS servides be included in OEM planning. While fire and police services are part of municipal government, EMS services are non-municipal, and not always included in planning.
Economic development is next on the Plainfield Vision 2025 agenda. Here are the remaining listening session topics, dates and locations.
- Public Safety:
- Oct. 12, 7:00 pm, Cook School at 739 Leland Avenue
- Oct. 16, 7:00 pm, Washington Community School at 427 Darrow Avenue
- Economic Development & Vibrancy - Oct. 3, 7:00 pm, Calvary Baptist Church at 324 Monroe Ave
- Workforce Development & Adult Learning - Oct. 17, 7:00 pm, Washington Community School, 427 Darrow Avenue
- Connecting Community/Community Arts & Culture - Oct. 23, 7:00 pm, duCret School of Art, 1030 Central Avenue
- Municipal Government & Essential Services Performance - Oct. 25, 7:00 pm, Plainfield Library at 800 Park Avenue
- Plainfield Vision 2025 Community Playback - Nov. 4, 10:00 am, Plainfield High School at 950 Park Avenue
The Plainfield Vision 2025 Executive Committee will present a final report to the Mayor in January 2018. Information on Plainfield Vision 2025 will be available on the city’s website, www.plainfieldnj.gov, and social media platforms. You can follow along on Facebook @PlainfieldVision2025.