A force to be reckoned with

Published 9:36 am Saturday, January 2, 2010

Police Chief Phil Hardison doesn’t mince words when he talks about crime in Franklin.

Last January, Hardison told The Tidewater News in an interview that the biggest problem his city faces is drugs.

“The most prevalent and complex issue is the drug demand and drug sales within the city,” he said, adding that his department is committed to enforcement of the drug laws.

Hardison made the rounds to civic clubs last year, educating community leaders on this growing crime problem in the city and the need for additional resources — most importantly, officers — to fight it.

And he took his case to City Council members, who said at the time that they didn’t have the money to put 10 more officers on the street.

Since then, the city has applied for two competitive federal grants totaling $1 million for those officers, who would be assigned to the enforcement of drug laws. Five would work on drug interdiction, including open-air street sales, gang suppression and intelligence. The other five would handle long-term covert drug investigations, old drug cases, and asset forfeitures and seizures.

There is still no word on whether the grant money will be awarded to Franklin. But Hardison is making good on at least one of last year’s goals.

Thanks to the continuing generosity of both the Camp Foundations and Franklin-Southampton Charities, a new officer — Jack — has joined the force to combat drugs in our community.

Jack, a Dutch shepherd, is trained to sniff out illegal drugs—specifically marijuana, heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine.

The K-9 unit is a welcome addition to the force, and we look forward to seeing results from his keen nose.

Here’s hoping Jack is the first of many officers to join the ranks of the Franklin Police Department to combat this growing problem in our city.