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Franklin council OKs new school resource officer deals

Franklin City Council Monday approved new two-year Memorandums of Understanding with the Franklin Board of Education and the Warren County Educational Services Center to provide school resource officers for Franklin schools and the WCESC Learning Centers. This is a photo from an all-day active shooter training Oct. 1, 2020 at Franklin High School as Franklin officers debrief students, staff and faculty. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF Franklin High School spent the day educating students about what to do in case of an active shooter situation in their school Tuesday, October 1 in Franklin. School resource officers told students how the drill would work in the auditorium them dismissed them to classrooms. During the drill, Franklin police officers fired blanks in the hallways of the school so students could hear what gunshots sound like and take the appropriate action of either barricading themselves inside the classroom or exiting the building. Franklin police Lt. Gerry Massey, left, officer Amanda Myers, middle, and officer Kyle O’neil answer questions after the drill. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Franklin City Council Monday approved new two-year Memorandums of Understanding with the Franklin Board of Education and the Warren County Educational Services Center to provide school resource officers for Franklin schools and the WCESC Learning Centers. This is a photo from an all-day active shooter training Oct. 1, 2020 at Franklin High School as Franklin officers debrief students, staff and faculty. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF Franklin High School spent the day educating students about what to do in case of an active shooter situation in their school Tuesday, October 1 in Franklin. School resource officers told students how the drill would work in the auditorium them dismissed them to classrooms. During the drill, Franklin police officers fired blanks in the hallways of the school so students could hear what gunshots sound like and take the appropriate action of either barricading themselves inside the classroom or exiting the building. Franklin police Lt. Gerry Massey, left, officer Amanda Myers, middle, and officer Kyle O’neil answer questions after the drill. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Franklin City Council approved a pair of deals with the Franklin and Warren County boards of education to provide school resource officers for the next two years.

The city will provide an SRO for the Franklin schools and an SRO for the WCESC learning centers at the former Laura Farrell school building and at the former St. Mary Center.

Police Chief Russell Whitman said the school districts pay 75% of the officers’ salaries and benefits and the city pays its 25% during the summer months when they work as patrol and community outreach officers. The new agreements are the same as the previous pacts except for the one-time start-up costs for the program, he said.

The amounts may change later this year when the new police union contract is negotiated, Whitman said.

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City Manager Sonny Lewis said the city offered to prorate the fees for the SRO services when schools closed for COVID-19, but both districts opted to pay their invoices in full.

Whitman said the SROs and the Franklin Division of Fire have visited neighborhoods and apartment complexes in the city to continue their outreach programs that have included squirt gun and water balloon fights.

Franklin officials said the next “Splash Day” will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at Schenck Elementary School. Other “Splash Days” are set for 1 p.m. July 27 at Laura Farrell School and at 4 p.m. July 31 at Franklin Court Apartments. Social distancing will be maintained during all activities.

COVID-19 pop-up testing

A COVID-19 pop-up testing site is planned for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday at Franklin Community Park. Fire Chief Jonathan Westendorf said the Warren County Health Department is sponsoring the testing site and the Ohio National Guard will do the nasal swab testing. The test is free, and results will be available next week. City officials said they are expecting to do 700 to 800 tests on Friday.

CARES Act funding

Council also approved a pair of resolutions that affirmed that any CARES Act funding for coronavirus expenses spent by the city will only be used for that purpose as well as creating a fund account to deposit any CARES Act funds and to disburse from that fund for those expenses.