Accept police grant

Published 8:53 am Friday, October 22, 2010

The Franklin City Council needs to bite the bullet and accept the future obligations that would go with a three-year federal grant to beef up the city’s police force.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced last week that Franklin has been awarded nearly $400,000 under the Community Oriented Policing Services, or COPS, program. The money would fund the addition of two police officers to the city force and cover their wages and benefits for three years.

To receive the money, the city must agree to fund the positions for at least a year after the federal money is exhausted.

That’s quite a bargain — and one the city should accept in a heartbeat.

The decision belongs to the City Council, several of whose members were noncommittal when contacted by a reporter last week.

Public safety is job one for city government, and one way to enhance the safety of the citizenry is to put more law enforcers on the street. Though violent crime seems to have declined in the past couple of years, Franklin still has too much crime for a city its size. A more visible police presence, especially in high-crime areas, would go a long way toward discouraging would-be lawbreakers.

Police Chief Phil Hardison has lobbied in recent years for more manpower, but the difficult fiscal climate at City Hall has caused those pleas to fall on deaf ears. Now the federal government has stepped up to help. Money should no longer be an excuse.