Franklin Commission Focuses on Public Safety and Mental Health Initiatives

In a recent meeting, the Franklin Human Relations Commission discussed a variety of community concerns, with public safety and mental health response taking center stage. The introduction of a new commissioner, Sam, and the approval of January 24th amendments were among the administrative tasks addressed. However, the meeting delved into more issues, such as the “arrive together” program, an initiative responding to mental health calls with a clinician and a police officer team, the increase in mental health calls, efforts to train all officers in crisis intervention by 2025, and the upcoming police test with a preference for local candidates.

The “arrive together” program, since its implementation in December, has led to an increase in mental health-related calls. The program aims to avoid arrests except in situations where bodily injury is involved. Its broader role encompasses support for young people, evident from the reported decrease in youth arrests. This initiative aligns with the commission’s focus on providing mentorship and mental health support, particularly in the fourth ward where there is an absence of community-based organizations.

The commission also tackled the issue of burglaries. Increased patrol cars and collaborations with other law enforcement agencies were cited as ongoing efforts to address the problem. Potential partnerships with companies like Amazon and Ring for discounts on security systems were mentioned. The discussion also covered the nationwide problem of catalytic converter thefts and shared personal anecdotes about home security and interactions with law enforcement.

Another topic was the hiring of police officers from within the community. The commission supported this approach. The debate included considerations of the balance between hiring new officers and relying on overtime, with attention paid to cost implications. The impact of retirements and transfers on the police department’s staffing was noted as a contributing factor to the staffing challenge.

The problem of solicitors in neighborhoods was brought up, with commission members questioning why the township couldn’t entirely prevent such visits. Updates on various police programs and events were provided, including a chess program, Citizens Academy, tax preparation services, and a career fair at Keen University. Positive feedback was received from a community member, who commended the department’s improvements and new leadership.

Regulation of solicitation was a concern, with the commission discussing unwanted phone calls and door-to-door solicitors. The importance of consistent attendance in the Community Policing program was emphasized. The meeting also covered an upcoming meeting regarding a proposed apartment complex at the Kmart Shopping Center, with members urged to participate due to the legal sensitivity of the issue.

The commission was asked to co-sponsor an event related to Ramadan, with a detailed explanation of the event’s purpose and activities provided. Outreach efforts to collaborate with other organizations and individuals were discussed. Additional topics included the installation of a bench at the Senior Citizens Center with information about opioid alternatives, a successful Stigma-Free meeting related to mental health, the development of digital trail maps, and plans to address disparities in community health.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.
Phillip Kramer
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