Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Annual Report Of The Franklin Police Department - FY 2021

Note: FY 2021 is last year (July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021). The report was prepared to cover the business for the FY 2021 period. This year’s report FY 2022 (July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022) is in preparation now and is normally available for distribution at the polls for the November election. Updated - 08/15/22

This past year continued to be dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the start of the pandemic the department has issued fourteen (14) Special Orders that changed the department’s operations and how we conducted business. Officers were required to wear masks while on calls and eventually at all times. Interactions with the public were decreased in an effort to minimize contact and keep everyone healthy. Traffic enforcement was significantly reduced and officers took many complaints over the phone instead of in person. As the vaccines began to be administered in January/February to public safety personnel and then eventually became available to all, the department slowly began to return to normal operations. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Health Director Cathleen Liberty, Facilities Director Michael D’Angelo and their respective staff for their tireless efforts to keep the town and its employees healthy and safe.

On December 31, 2020, Governor Charlie Baker signed, “An Act Relative to Justice, Equity and Accountability in Law Enforcement in the Commonwealth”. Commonly referred to as the Massachusetts Police Reform law, the new law includes a certification system for police officers and departments, the creation of a Police Officer Standards and Training (POST) commission, public access to police misconduct investigation records and addresses many other issues. The department has been working to implement the changes as the various commissions formed through the law issue directives. Many of the expected changes the law requires are already included within the standards necessary to meet certification by the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission. As you will see later in this report, the FPD was awarded certification in May, 2021

I want to acknowledge the dedication and professionalism of the men and women of the Franklin Police Department who have continued to demonstrate tremendous fortitude throughout this difficult and tumultuous year. They embraced the challenges and changes with the utmost flexibility and continued the mission of the agency without pause or complaint, providing excellent services to the community.

Even with all the challenges the department needed to deal with, we continued to work diligently to accomplish the goals we set for FY21. Many of our previous and current initiatives are familiar and have been discussed in past annual reports as they are multi-year projects due to the complexity involved in their implementation.

For the past several years, through the combined effort of the Franklin Police Department, Franklin Fire Department, Facilities Department and private vendors; we have been working to expand and modernize our public safety communications system. Enhancements to existing communications facilities and the addition of new locations with modern and advanced equipment throughout town will increase the coverage, reliability and clarity of the system.

These enhancements will increase the communications ability and safety of our public safety personnel while answering calls for service. We expect to go live with the new equipment in October, 2021.

The Franklin/Medway Jail Diversion Program (JDP) was launched in 2018 and pairs specially trained crisis clinicians from Advocates Inc, with police officers at the Franklin/Medway Police Departments. These embedded clinicians respond to calls for service and 911 calls with patrol officers; providing immediate on scene de-escalation, assessment and referrals for individuals in crisis. The primary goal of the JDP is to re-direct individuals committing non- violent offenses out of the criminal justice system and into more appropriate community based behavioral health services.
On-scene crisis interventions are facilitated through the dual response of police and clinician to calls for service involving individuals in crisis. During FY21 the JDP clinician has been involved in 651 on-scene crisis interventions and follow-up referrals from Franklin/Medway police officers. The program successfully diverted twenty-seven (27) low-level offenders from the criminal justice system at an estimated cost savings of $68,040 ($2,520 per arrest event). A secondary goal of the JDP is to decrease the frequency of individuals with behavioral health conditions being referred to the hospital emergency department for psychiatric assessment by the police department. In FY21 seventy-three (73) individuals were diverted from unnecessary emergency department hospital admissions due to the JDP clinician being on scene to facilitate assessment and treatment recommendations at an estimated cost savings of $292,000 ($4,000 per diversion).

The opioid epidemic and drug overdoses continue to impact communities throughout the United States and Franklin. The Department responded to 33 reported overdose incidents during FY21, two (2) of which were fatal. Public Safety personnel administered Narcan at 23 of the incidents. In FY20 there were 23 overdose incidents, two (2) of which were fatal. The FPD continues to collaborate with our federal, state, local and private partners (SAFE Coalition) in our efforts to provide those suffering from substance use disorders with resources, referrals, assistance and support in their efforts to get well.

In 2019 all Norfolk County municipal law enforcement agencies and the Norfolk County District Attorney’s Office joined in collaboration to form the Norfolk County Outreach Program (NCOP). This multi-jurisdictional effort includes the real-time reporting of overdoses and the identification of at- risk individuals throughout the county through the use of a shared data management system. Follow-up visits by law enforcement officers and our JDP clinician are conducted within 48 hours of the event to provide individuals with substance use disorder and/or their loved ones with appropriate resource information and access to treatment. In June, 2020, the NCOP expanded its outreach by instituting a cross jurisdictional notification system that shares data with six (6) other counties in eastern Massachusetts. This achievement truly provides the FPD with the ability to have a more complete approach to identifying substance abusers in our community and offer them the services they need. FPD personnel conducted 28 follow-up visits in FY21. Although we responded to 28 reported overdose incidents in Franklin, we received an alert that four (4) Franklin residents had an overdose event in a community outside Norfolk County. Without this initiative we may have never known about these events and would not have been able to offer these Franklin residents resources and services.

In September, 2019, the department initiated a Problem Oriented Policing (POP) Unit within the Operations Division. Using a proven problem-solving method known as SARA (Scanning, Analysis, Response and Assessment), POP officers would identify or be assigned to investigate repetitive calls for service and develop strategies and solutions to reduce/eliminate such problems and behaviors. The POP philosophy is to “think outside the box” in an effort to reduce crime, identify issues at their roots, and improve the quality of life of the residents affected by the problem. The unit has worked on a number of issues over the past year and has had great success solving problems.

On May 20, 2021, after several years of tremendous effort, the Franklin Police Department joined a select group of law enforcement agencies in Massachusetts when we received a Certificate of Certification from the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission. The Certificate states the following, “Be it hereby known that the Franklin Police Department having taken extraordinary steps to demonstrate its pride and professionalism by living up to a body of critical law enforcement standards in areas of management, operations, and technical support activities to deliver quality police services to its community, is hereby recognized as a certified police agency for a period of three years upon the recommendation of the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission, Inc.”

Accreditation/certification is a self-initiated evaluation process by which police departments strive to meet and maintain standards that have been established for the profession, by the profession. These carefully selected standards reflect critical areas of police management, operations and technical support activities. They cover areas such as policy development, emergency response planning, training, communications, property and evidence handling, use of force, vehicular pursuit, prisoner transportation, and holding facilities. The program not only sets standards for the law enforcement profession, but also for the delivery of police services to citizens. There are currently 98 fully accredited and 19 certified law enforcement agencies in Massachusetts. The FPD is diligently working toward attaining full Accreditation.

The Police Report continues with some tables of data and information, please continue to read the report on Page 159 

The full Annual Report for 2021 can be found

The collection of Annual Reports can be found online

Annual Town Report Of The Town Clerk’s Office - FY 2021
Annual Report Of The Town of Franklin - FY 2021

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