FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WCMH) – After three failed attempts, a permanent police levy in Franklin Township has passed.
Voters approved the levy by about a 9% margin in Tuesday’s general election. Franklin Township Police Chief Byron Smith said this will help the department keep the community safer.
“Now that it has passed, we will be able to secure the township, combat crime as it comes into the township, had it not passed, crime would definitely skyrocket,” said Chief Smith.
The Franklin Township Police Department currently has eight officers. If the levy failed, Smith said that number would have been cut in half.
Full staff is considered 13 full time officers and six part time officers, Smith said. He said the levy will allow the department to once again be fully staffed.
“What came to me was the safety of the residents and that we would now have the money to actually provide that,” said Smith. “It definitely means we’ll be able to provide the level of service they deserve.”
The FTPD stopped having overnight coverage over the summer after a levy failed in May. Chief Smith said since then, property crime during those hours has gone up 70-80%. With the latest levy passing, he said he the department should have enough staffing for overnights to be covered again in about two months.
“We will have to hire new officers and train them and then get back to full staff,” said Smith. “It’s a long road, but we’re getting started immediately.”
Longtime Franklin Township resident Bob Kelly said he is looking forward to when that happens.
“Makes me feel good we’ll have somebody on nights,” Kelly said. “I might not be the only person out here patrolling my neighborhood.”
The levy will cost taxpayers about $21 dollars a month, Smith said. He said cost was likely the main reason people voted against it — but he believes it’s worth it,
“They don’t want their taxes to continue going up, which I understand that. No one does,” said Smith. “But it’s like your car insurance or your homeowner’s insurance. If it goes up, it’s going to be cheaper to pay the difference than to deal with the consequences of not having it.”