Franklin adding police officer

Franklin police detectives who investigate the use and sale of illegal drugs have become so successful that another investigator is needed to keep up with the tips coming into the department.

The Franklin Police Department is growing so that another investigator can be added to the narcotics unit, Chief Tim O’Sullivan said.

The city council is being asked to approve funding to hire a new patrol officer so that an experienced officer can become a detective on the narcotics team.

Next month, the city council will vote on whether to approve the new position. The new officer would take the department’s staff to 47 full-time officers, and allow a veteran officer to be promoted, O’Sullivan said.

The last time the city added a police officer was earlier this year when the department moved to 12-hour shifts. All calls for help from the police department went up 12 percent from 2013 to 2015, and are on pace to increase that much again this year.

The current narcotics investigators have been proactive and successful, and O’Sullivan points to recent arrests and a sweep earlier this year where officers arrested 21 people on drug charges in one month.

“Our narcotics officers are just so busy — they’re a little overwhelmed right now,” O’Sullivan said. “I have two full-time narcotics officers, and they’re doing such good work, but a little short-handed.”

The new patrol officer will be paid $48,500, and spend 16 weeks training at the law enforcement academy, then 11 weeks of field training with a fellow Franklin police officer before being able to patrol the city independently, O’Sullivan said.

New officers are hired by the merit board after applicants go through testing, including a psychological and physical evaluation, O’Sullivan said. He would like to hire an officer next month after the city council approves the new position.