By Amanda Amsel
Franklin Township residents will see a familiar face patrolling the township with the return of a laid off police officer.
At a recent board meeting, the trustees unanimously approved reinstating an officer who was laid off earlier this year.
“More budget numbers have come through, so I feel confident saying we can afford to bring back an officer,” said Franklin Township Police Chief Allan Wheeler. “We will not be hiring a new officer, just replacing an officer.”
Officer Terry Taylor retired from the police department after 20 years of service, leaving a vacant spot. As a result of Taylor’s retirement, there were only three officers and the police chief patrolling the township.
According to Wheeler, the logical thing to do was to bring back one of the laid off officers so the department could have four officers plus himself.
“For this year, we had budgeted for four officers, so this is all within budget,” he said. “We need approval from the board to bring back this officer in April.”
Earlier in the year the township laid off four officers because of financial issues. As a result, the township cut its police presence to one shift seven days a week. When the township’s police department is not on duty, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office is responding to emergency calls. All non-emergency calls that occur when the township police are off duty are not handled until they are back the following day.
“While I believe no officers should have been laid off in the first place, I do feel like this is a step in the right direction,” said Jeff Simpson, union vice president for the Franklin Township Police Department.
The trustees also allowed the police department to spend approximately $3,293 on a computer backup system for cruiser cameras. The department received a grant for $8,955 to purchase the equipment. The township paid 10 percent of the cost, which amounted to $955.