Police are needed

Published 8:33 am Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Franklin Police Department, and especially Chief Phil Hardison and Deputy Chief Bruce Edwards, deserve praise for their efforts to garner more than $1 million in federal aid to beef up patrols on our city streets.

Everyone with any sense — or anyone who has listened to the several presentations offered by Hardison of late — knows the city is experiencing an increase in crime. Of great concern is the rising gang and drug activity in our fair city, which requires extra attention from the police force.

Hardison has proposed hiring 10 additional police officers to combat rising drug crimes in the city, which would cost $500,000 a year in salaries and benefits and at least an additional $250,000 for vehicles and equipment.

Federal money would take the onus off the City Council to OK that big move — for a time.

Though one grant through the Justice Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, or COPS, requires that after three years, the municipalities must maintain any positions that were created or funded through the grant and assume the funding for them.

According to City Manager June Fleming, that could mean another tax increase for residents.

Should the grant be awarded, the city needs to make plans now — not when the grant runs out in three years — for how those positions will be funded later.