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Franklin Township Ride Along

Recently, Starfish Assignment volunteer Jack Carlin did a ride along with the Franklin Township Police Department (FTPD), the latest agency we're honored to partner with. So that we, and you, can learn more about them, he shared his experiences:

I rode along with Franklin Township Sergeant Dave Pollock, who in addition to serving as a patrol officer, serves as the community liaison officer for FTPD. After being so involved with the Columbus Division of Police (CPD) which employs nearly 2,000 officers, it was odd to meet nearly the entirety of FTPD shortly after arriving for my ride along shift. There are only 12 sworn personnel, which counts all officers, supervisors, and even Chief Byron Smith. I quickly learned that, although FTPD does not have the resources of CPD, they still have the same passion for the community they serve.

Franklin Township’s jurisdiction is scattered across the westside (picture attached with this post). While they are dispatched and backed up by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO), FTPD is surrounded by the city of Columbus, so much that they carry a second radio in their car to listen to CPD Zone 3 dispatch and back channels to follow any events of interest in the area.

The shift wasn’t any more or less eventful than any other ride along on the westside. We started by driving “lights and sirens” across the spread out jurisdiction to respond to an overdose of a father in Havenwood, a housing complex notorious for drugs and crime. The formerly lifeless man regained consciousness after 2 doses of Narcan administered by Franklin Township Fire who arrived on scene first. I strongly discourage the use of cocaine not just because of the substance itself but because you never know if fentanyl has been cut with it. This gentleman found that out the hard way and was lucky that his neighbor was concerned about an open door, else he would have added to the extremely high number of overdose deaths plaguing central Ohio.

I am leaving out a decent number of small runs that we went out on; the only other notable call that evening was an unruly juvenile. In the interest of the parties involved, I am not going to disclose the details of the call. I will say Sgt Pollock did a great job handling difficult circumstances to help start the process of unifying a family after an obvious emotional struggle. One thing I noticed that happened on both mentioned calls for service is that officers gave out sticker badges to bystanders. These small offerings were passed out to a younger sibling and the friendly neighbors of the previously mentioned overdose victim. It was almost like their stickers were a part of their duty belt. In other jurisdictions, you would be hard pressed to find a patrol officer with a thick stack of stickers tucked into a pocket but not in Franklin Township, I was very impressed that both officers on shift were making a point of deputizing children in the middle of their calls.

If you’re ever on a ride along, expect a lot of driving around and possibly a tour of the area. Officers know every hiding hole and spot of interest. While Sgt Pollock was showing me his favorite place to do paperwork and hangout between calls we were able to talk a lot about FTPD. I learned that the Chief and his Lieutenant go to a busy area in the township on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to give out packed lunches and Narcan. The lifesaving overdose treatment can bring an opioid user back from near death, giving them a second chance at life. On the westside where narcotics have been devastating, the Narcan they give away has a good chance of being used. These actions of compassion make me extremely excited to partner with FTPD through Starfish Assignment.

Thank you Sgt Pollock and the rest of Franklin Township Police for a fun evening and for welcoming me with open arms. I am looking forward to working with you!


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