Franklin Twp. levy puts officers back on the streets, brings back night shift

FRANKLIN TWP., OH (WCMH) — Franklin Township voters are sending police back to the streets. Residents voted to pass a police levy with 62 percent of the vote. The new five-year levy is projected to raise more than $600,000.

In a cost-cutting move, the township previously laid off all police officers working overnight. These duties were outsourced to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.

However, sheriff’s deputies would only respond to high priority calls. Any police reports, low level crimes, and calls about crimes that had already happened had to wait until the township’s police department opened each morning.

Franklin Township will not receive any new funds until January of 2018. Residents owning homes will pay an additional $143 for a home valued at $100,000.

“I know what it feels like to not feel safe in your own home, especially at night when you know that unless it’s a high priority, the police aren’t coming,” said township trustee John Fleshman.

Police Chief Byron Smith can now bring his department back to full strength.

“It means police will be out 24/7,” Smith said. “When they have an issue then we will have the man power and the funds to address it.”

These five new officers will join six full time and six part-time officers already on the force.

Adding staff will allow the township to cover more ground. Chief Smith hopes more officers will “address things like the drug house you see over here, traffic complaints, community policing type issues, additional block watches, more neighborhood patrols, things like that.”

Smith said it takes 6-8 months to hire and train any new officer. This means night shift officers might not be on the street until August of 2018.  Smith says he plans to ask Franklin Township Trustees to hire a few officers early so there can be some sort of overnight police presence at the start of 2018.

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