It has been more than a decade since the Franklin Police Department has had their own K9 on the force, but with the town council’s approval Tuesday night, Chief Bill Harrell said that he hopes to add the K9 by the end of the year.
“Once we have our K9 handler identified, we will set up the training needed to get things moving,” said Chief Harrell. “We plan to have the K9 ready and in service by the end of the year.”
Chief Harrell proposed spending $18,000 to establish the program, which covers the cost of a new K9 for the department. After the initial expenditure, Chief Harrell said that it would cost an additional $1,000 per year for veterinary visits and food for the K9. Chief Harrell said the community groups have stepped up to support a K9 for the police department and have donated or pledged to cover the initial expense. Because of the donations from the community, the new K9 will not result in any additional expenses to the town of Franklin.
The Franklin Police Department did have a K9 several years ago, but when the K9 finished his service in 2009, the department elected not to replace it at that time. Since then, the Franklin Police Department have relied on the assistance of the Macon County Sheriff’s Department, which has four K9’s.
“The most recent example is when we had an offender speed through Franklin and then exited the vehicle on foot,” said Chief Harrell. “The Macon County Sheriff’s Department K9 could only last 15 minutes in the heat of that day, and we didn’t have anything to assist them for that search.”
Chief Harrell, who served as the Chief of the Highlands Police Department prior to accepting the job in Franklin three months ago, said that the K9s with the Highlands Police Department were invaluable.
Town Council member Jack Horton said that the suspect that was apprehended using the K9 Chief Harrell was near his home and knowing the benefit K9’s have in law enforcement he supported the addition to the department.
Council member Joe Collins asked Chief Harrell if the department had plans for the future of a K9 program within the town to which Chief Harrell informed him that additional residents have expressed interest in donating and helping to fund a second K9 as well as providing funding for the care of the dogs so they do become an added expense to the town.
The Town of Franklin voted unanimously to allow Chief Harrell to move forward with establishing a K9 program.