FRANKLIN COUNTY (WSLS 10) – Talks of adding a police department in addition to the existing sheriff's office continue among the Franklin County Board of Supervisors.
It's still very early in the discussion.
As of now, county staff are gathering information about how much a police department and the process to create one would cost.
Ultimately the decision would come down to the community's vote.
Board of Supervisors member Ronnie Thompson, a former Vinton police officer and Franklin County Sheriff's Deputy brought up the idea and plans to have it on the agenda next meeting.
Despite talks of changing the role of the Franklin County Sheriff's Office by creating a police department, the Board of Supervisors approved a $93,650 purchase for the sheriff's office for four new police vehicles.
Two of the police service vehicles requested are Full-Size Ford Interceptors (Taurus) at a cost of $22,665.00 per vehicle. The two others requested are pursuit rated Dodge Chargers at a cost of $24,160.00 per vehicle. The cost of those vehicles will be covered by the existing vehicle budget from the Sheriff's Office.
Currently, the balance sits at $130,452.
The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the purchase of four new patrol and investigative vehicles.
In the meantime, county staff have been told to research the cost of creating a police department.
Ronnie Thompson officially introduced the topic to the board in the meeting Tuesday.
"I've had a couple of comments, phone calls, emails," Thompson said. "I think right now the biggest concern, the biggest question is what the procedure is and what all is involved. It's the unknown that is scary and it is in the very beginning."
Research from county staff is expected to be ready by next months meeting.
The sheriff has yet to comment on the possibility of a police department.
Thompson says if the board and the citizens decided to go through with creating a police department, it would take several years to implement.