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PD Chief Roberts: Police Department Needs A Captain

2-8-16 Budget Hearing - 5

Township Chief of Police Lawrence Roberts told the Township Council Feb. 8 that the department needs a captain.


The police department needs a captain to help with the rejuvenation of the Hamilton Street business district, among other things, the Township Council was told Feb. 8.

Police Chief Lawrence Roberts told the council during its first 2016 budget hearing that unlike neighboring police departments, Franklin’s has no captains.

The captain’s salary would be $155,000, said township manager Robert Vornlocker.

Roberts said one of the new captain’s responsibilities would be to “oversee Hamilton Street.”

Roberts said that captains have the authority to make command decisions and to “allocate manpower,” which would be helpful in dealing with any problems that might crop up in the Hamilton Street business district.

He said if a business owner reported that drug sales were taking place near their establishment, the captain would have the ability to assign officers to the location.

The captain would also be a member of the Hamilton Street Advisory Board, the body charged with helping revitalize the Hamilton Street business district.

“One of the responsibilities will be to develop a game plan,” Roberts said. He said the captain would meet with business owners, the HSAB and the council to develop ideas to revitalize the area.

He said the captain would also have patrol duties, and that having a captain on the force would help with “succession” issues.

“I have to run the department the right way,” he said. “At this point, I think it’s the best thing to do for the department and the residents.”

During the budget hearing, the council also heard from the heads of the revenue collection, purchasing, human resources, planning and zoning, fire prevention and construction departments.

Raven Williams, head of the human resources department, said her proposed budget included an increase of $19,000 over the 2015 budget, mainly due to continuation of management training programs.

“We’re working with one department in particular, to help them have better interactions with other departments and the public,” she said.

Township employees’ health insurance premiums also increased 12 percent, she said.

Mark Healy, the head of the township’s planning and zoning departments and redevelopment agency, said his department’s proposed budget is up slightly because he’s asking for $50,000 for legal fees for the planning and zoning boards. He said the department asked for $40,000 for both boards in the past, but is asking for a little more this year.

The fire prevention proposed operating budget is up $200, department head John Hauss told the council. He also asked for an additional $19,000 for a part-time clerk for the department.

He said that in 2009, the department’s part-time clerk was leet go due to budget constraints, and since then, the department has been “trying to make do.”

“It’s to the point where we can’t keep up” with the paperwork, he said. “We’re doing more and more inspections, which leads to more paperwork.”

“We’ve come to the busting point where we have to have additional help,” Hauss said.

The council was told that proposed budgets for the revenue collector, purchasing and construction and township manager were the same as 2015.

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