FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WCMH) – A central Ohio police department will be keeping a close eye on November’s election as Franklin Township tries to get a police levy passed on the ballot.
This is the township’s fourth attempt at getting it passed.
Starting from about 11 p.m. until 7 a.m., Franklin Township doesn’t have police officers on duty, a situation that has been in effect since the summer.
Franklin Township Police Department Chief Byron Smith said Tuesday that if the levy doesn’t pass, there could be more shifts that will lose coverage.
Brown’s Tire Sales and Service on Harrisburg Pike has been in business for about four decades. Owner Lonnie Brown said that recently, crime has affected the shop more than ever before.
“We continue to stay busy, but we are getting ripped off constantly,” Brown said. “People are breaking into our cars, cutting off the catalytic converters.”
He said a lot of the trouble is taking place overnight, at a time when there are not any Franklin Township Police Officers working.
“It hurts us pretty bad,” Brown said. “People drop their car off for a $200 break job and it costs us $500 to repair the car afterwards.”
Franklin Township stopped having overnight police coverage over the summer after a levy failed in May and layoff notices were issued. Smith said since then, property crime during those hours has gone up between 70% to 80%.
“We’re seeing that all over the township, these things going on at night and there’s really nobody for the residents to call because, like I said, the sheriff can only take so many runs,” Smith said.
Smith is urging residents to vote for the police levy. Right now, with eight officers, he said there aren’t enough to cover the third shift. If the levy fails, he said they’ll lose four more positions, meaning just one shift of the day would have coverage and two days would not have any coverage.
If the levy passes, Smith said they’d be able to get back to 24-hour coverage. According to Smith, this permanent levy would replace the temporary one which ends in December and would cost taxpayers about $20 a month. He understands a lot of things cost more these days but said safety is worth it.
“I would tell the residents we really need their support so we can, in turn, support them,” he said.
The township will hold a town hall meeting about the levy next Thursday, Nov. 3, at noon, where Smith will be on hand to answer any questions from the public.