You asked: Calls keep police officers hopping

Published 2:16 pm Saturday, April 7, 2012

Curious about something in Western Tidewater? Send your question to, and we’ll do our best to find the answer.

You asked: How many calls for service do departments in Franklin city government receive each year?

FRANKLIN—The city’s Police Department answered the largest number of service calls in the city in 2011 — more than 32,000, or about 90 a day.

The department is short-handed, with only 26 of its allowed 30 sworn officer positions currently filled. Sixteen patrol officers answered the majority of the 32,241 calls in 2011, said Lt. Tim Whitt.

“We’re very proud of our Patrol Division people,” Whitt said. “They work very hard.”

In all, the Patrol Division made 346 felony arrests last year, 535 misdemeanor arrests, gave 1,671 traffic citations or criminal summons, made 42 drunken-driving arrests, served 4,054 court papers, and completed 1,699 offense reports and 256 accident reports.

The number of calls increased 34 percent over the 2010 total of 24,088, Whitt said.

FPD’s Detective Division made 137 arrests last year and currently has a caseload of 30 split between two officers.

The city’s animal control officers received 728 calls. The office is composed of two people, but patrol officers respond to animal control calls when animal control officers aren’t available, Whitt said.

Deputy Fire Chief Mark Carr said complete numbers on the amount of calls Franklin Fire and Rescue received last year were unavailable, but he estimated the figure based on numbers from the previous year.

Carr estimated that EMS received about 1,800 calls for service last year, while fire calls came in about 500 times.

“It fluctuates. One day we may run 12 to 14 calls, and the next day we may run two calls,” Carr said.

Carr said the department currently has 12 career and 20 volunteer firefighters, but less than half of the volunteer staff are certified as emergency medical technicians. He said about 20 personnel are trained to go on EMS calls.

Mark Bly, Franklin Power and Light director, said that since November his crews have been out on 50 trouble calls.

“I don’t want it to be thought that since November we have only ventured out of the facility 50 times to do work,” Bly said in an email Thursday. “This is a total quantity of reports of trouble, some during regular work hours and some after work hours and weekends. Those that occur during regular work hours are being handled while doing our normal daily work, whether we had been changing out a pole or stringing new wire or maybe even installing a new service.”

In October the department answered 10 trouble calls, compared with 15 in September, 18 in August and 24 in July.

The Police Department has a budgeted payroll of $2.3 million for both sworn officers and dispatchers. Fire and Rescue gets $1.1 million, animal control is set at $76,175 and the electric department gets $1.1 million for payroll.