On Aug. 2, the Franklin Township Police Department welcomed their new chief.
Chief Jim Timko has over three decades of law enforcement experience, and is confident in his ability to improve the life and well-being of current residents.
Timko received his first taste of policing when he served two years as a military policeman after being drafted into the Army. Timko had grown up familiar with policing; his father served as a homicide detective in Warren, Ohio.
After starting his career as a foot-patrolman in 1973, he gradually climbed the ranks. He became their chief in 1996.
After five years as police chief, Timko and his family moved to Florida, where he worked for the Hillsborough County Sheriffs Office for six years.
Timko then lived San Diego for two years, where he was employed by the National Fraternal Order of Police as a labor specialist.
Messenger staff writer Sean Lehosit had a chance to speak with the new chief to talk about his new position and what he hopes to bring to the township.
Sean Lehosit: Did you have a chance to become familiar with the issues of Franklin Township before your first day?
Jim Timko: I did research on the internet and made telephone calls with people who lived in the area. So, I had a thumbnail sketch of Franklin Township and their issues, but you dont really find out everything until youre actually in the job. I was confident I knew the issues and they were not dissimilar from the issues I faced in Warren.
SL: What are some of the major issues you think the community needs to address?
JT: Well, one was decreasing revenue base; theres less money so you have a very tight budget. The other issue is basically community involvement with the police department and watching out for crime. Community oriented policing is simply the police and community working together to make life better in the community. Im a firm believer in that – that we should work together.
SL: A hot topic right now is the spike in crime around Franklin Township. Do you feel this is as grave as some say, or something that can be easily addressed?
JT: We should always worry about crime in our community whether or not there is a spike. Sometimes spikes are like a flash, they happen because a certain group is active in committing crimes, and sometimes when that group gets arrested then you have a drop in crime. Theres different variables there. So what we need to do is we need to do is find whos committing these crimes and target that group and eliminate the spike; and it can be done. Right now, weve got to focus on whos doing the crimes, try to identify them, and get them behind bars as quickly as possible and then prevent another spike.
SL: Is there anything you would recommend to the everyday citizen?
JT: Yes, first thing they should do is go through their own life, their own property, their own home and find where their security breaches are. Secure your home and belongings so youre not a victim. Secondly, they should pay attention to their surroundings, their neighbors homes, and the surrounding community and recognize when somethings unusual or somethings going on that they know from living there is not right. Call the police immediately and let us respond to it so we can fight crime.
SL: How about community initiatives and outreach? Is there anything we should look forward to in the future?
JT: I believe the police department will be corporative with any and all community programs and take any opportunity we can to assist and develop other programs. Anything to improve the quality of life in Franklin Township were going to be considerate of.
SL: Are there any last messages about you or the department youd like to convey to the readers?
JT: Im looking to improve officer moral and get the department current with state standards and to improve their equipment. Hopefully with the officers getting more training I can improve moral. Lets get some new ideas and new blood flowing here and get some excitement going in the police department for the officers and hopefully we can bring about some changes. I want to be a change agent.