Police sergeant honored for role-model ways

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 6, 2007

FRANKLIN—Sgt. Gary Falls of the Franklin Police Department may not even realize the impact he has had in the past on students at Franklin High School.

Up until about two years ago, Falls spent his days as the school’s resource officer.

&uot;He always accepted the kids as they were,&uot; said English teacher Linda Soucek. &uot;He was always there to encourage the students.&uot;

Falls became like a father figure to one student, whom he met and formed a bond while conducting the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program. Bontae Murphy was then in the fifth grade.

Falls was nominated by Crystal Ellis-Ward of the city manager’s office for the city’s Star Performer Award. He was presented a framed certificate by Mayor Jim Councill at last week’s City Council meeting.

Ellis-Ward noted on the nomination form that all seniors want to attend their last prom, and that &uot;it is very important for our employees to reach out to our youth.&uot;

Now a street sergeant, a humble Falls said, &uot;All I did was help her pay her prom dues and help her get a few items for the prom.&uot; He also mentored Murphy during the time she was working on her senior project.

A letter to him from the Performance Enhancement Program (PEP) Committee states,

&uot;…It is our understanding that you have been a mentor and a true father figure in her life …You have continued to provide her with a positive role model, and more importantly, a friend. Your actions have improved the quality of life for the citizens of this city and beyond.&uot;

Said Soucek, &uot;He has a very calming personality. He is among the best that goes unrecognized. I think more kids could use mentors like him.&uot;

Falls is entitled to a $10 gift certificate to a local business of his choice and will be eligible for the Employee of the Year Award.

A copy of his certificate also will be included in his personnel file.