Hampshire takes step to improve safety in village
By Denise Moran For The Courier-News October 5, 2012 11:34AM
Updated: November 8, 2012 11:57AM
HAMPSHIRE — The village is looking at ways to improve safety in Hampshire, from a Neighborhood Watch-type program to clarifying the officials names of streets.
The Police Department will host an informational meeting about USAonWatch from 7 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24, at Hampshire Middle School, 560 South State St.
“This program replaces Neighborhood Watch,” said Police Chief Brian Thompson. “It follows Homeland Security guidelines. It’s a community-run program. We’re looking for some neighborhood captains to help run it. USAonWatch is a great way to get together with the police and share concerns. It’s also a great way to get to know your neighbors.”
In order to improve address identification for first responders, the village board approved a resolution Thursday night to change names of certain streets and roadways.
“The public safety committee identified a number of inconsistencies or mistakes in the Kane County GIS System that could potentially affect the dispatching for emergency services,” said Village Administrator Doug Maxeiner.
Some roads formerly considered as streets are now avenues. They include Washington, Mill, Jefferson, Jackson, Terwilliger and South avenues.
Some former streets are losing their names and being left as unnamed village right-of-ways such as the former Walnut and Klick streets.
Two private roads in the village are now known as Maggie Lane and Louie Lane.
Village officials noted that although it has been spelled two different ways, the correct spelling is Brier Hill Road.
In addition to clarifying road names, the village will start including a notice on water bills to remind residents that all homes must display address numbers.
“I can’t believe how many homes don’t have numbers on them,” said Trustee George Brust.
The numbers should be 6 tall inches in contrasting colors, attached to the face of the house, and visible from the street.
In other business, the board discussed a proposed ordinance authorizing the towing and impoundment of motor vehicles and the imposition and collecting of an administrative processing fee.
“Vehicles involved in certain criminal offenses in the village, such as driving under the influence or driving with a suspended license, may be towed and impounded by the police department,” Maxeiner said. “However, at the current time, the village has no means to assess a fee against the owner to pay for the costs of the department associated with this impounding and towing. State law was recently changed to allow for non-home rule entities, after passage of an ordinance, to impose a fee to recover these expenses.”
“The Hampshire police department has estimated that between 80 and 90 cases occur annually where vehicles could be subject to tow,” Maxeiner added. “The vast majority of these cases involve operators from outside the village. The police department supports approval of the ordinance.”
Thompson said that the Village of Gilberts has a $500 fee and suggested that Hampshire might charge the same amount.
No action was taken on the proposed ordinance. It is expected to be brought before the board again in the future.