Franklin Co. sheriff, board to discuss increasing patrol

Franklin Co. in need of more officers
Published: Sep. 17, 2015 at 10:50 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 18, 2015 at 12:03 AM CDT
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BENTON, IL (KFVS) - The sheriff of Franklin County announced that he needs more manpower due to rising crime rates, and what he said is a rising danger police officers face on a daily basis.

"Locally, we have a major drug problem in the county, which I think perpetuates some of the other issues," Sheriff Don Jones said. "We have a detective assigned to the drug task force full time, but a new hire would be out in the field."

Jones also said recent government mandates require officers to be on-scene for more domestic issues, which adds to the response requirements as a whole.

"In certain domestic battery, child abuse, child neglect, cases, we have to be there just in case something happens… and don't get me wrong, that's a good thing," Jones said, "but all those types of situations are dangerous to law enforcement. Emotions run high when you start talking about custody of children, or someone can't stay in their house anymore, things like that... but I can often only send one deputy."

"You can see the need, there's no question about that," explained Franklin County Board Chairman Randall Crocker. "We have uncertainty at the state level right now, which trickles down, as well as declining income levels in the county. We're already asking other departments to cut back in employees, and several departments already have."

"If the crime rate is going up, then we have to go up to combat it," explained Benton Walmart security guard Trenton Brown. "I do live here in town now, and I don't want to feel like when I call, [law enforcement] might say; well, we're one guy too short. if [the county] absolutely could not do it, then that's one thing, but if it's in any way possible, then safety is what's important."

"I know about the problems the county faces," Jones said. "I understand that. But as the sheriff of Franklin County, I felt like it was my job to bring that to the attention of the board for the safety of my people. And if I didn't feel strongly about that, then believe me I wouldn't have done it."

The board chairman said county officials intend to help the sheriff's office out in any way possible, so long as the numbers allow it.

A decision is expected by December 1.

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