The Call Was Answered...

December 21, 2011

“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus…”

On October 7, 2011, I issued a call for assistance regarding a fundraising effort for Trooper Glen Franklin who was shot during an undercover bootleg buy in 1972. As you recall, Glen was just ten months into his career when he became confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

Although we received donations from across the United States, the outpouring from our agency was overwhelming. Amidst bake sales, chili cook-offs, yard sales and gun raffles WE raised $46,206.34 for this hero. After negotiations with Superior Van of Lexington, which included a hefty dealer discount and a rebate from Honda, we were able to purchase a fully equipped 2011 Honda Odyssey for $39,303 with the trade-in of the Franklin’s current van. The remainder of the monies is for the Franklins to utilize as they see fit.

The fundraising efforts snowballed and took on a life of its’ own. Amidst the generous donations of cash, the Franklins also received four box seats to a Cincinnati Reds game, VIP treatment to a Cincinnati Bengals game, a Garmin GPS unit from the Braun Corporation, and lifetime oil changes and tire balancing service from Capitol Auto Park.

The event, attended by Governor Steve Beshear and Senator Julian Carroll, was perhaps one of the proudest moments during my career with the Kentucky State Police. After Trooper Franklin was presented the Guthrie Crowe Award, I explained the outpouring of support during our fundraising endeavors to the Franklins. Ultimately, the van was unveiled, including a personalized KSP plate on the front with his unit number. To say that they were surprised and overwhelmed is an understatement!

Perhaps the most gratifying moment for me was watching Trooper Franklin being interviewed by multiple news agencies. After forty years of being confined to a wheelchair, I felt that he was finally getting a modicum of the recognition that he deserved.

After the fanfare had subsided and most of the 160 plus spectators had left, Lieutenant Jude and I had a private moment with Glen and his wife Jan. In a tear filled moment, Glen told me how appreciative he was and asked me how he could ever repay all of the kindness that he and his family had been shown. I responded by telling him that the debt had already been paid in full on November 26, 1972. Amen.


Injured in the Line of Duty

By all accounts, Glen Franklin was a prankster and somewhat mischievous kid in high school. His transcripts from Shelby County High School were average upon his graduation in 1967. But there was something special about this kid when he was finally interviewed with the Kentucky State Police in 1971. His lifelong dream of becoming a trooper was about to be realized.

Cadet Franklin’s records reveal that his mischievous streak was still present during training, earning him ten demerits and a weekend stay at the mid way point. However, his evaluator saw the potential and intelligence of this young recruit and recommended that he be allowed to continue the academy. It was certainly a proud day when Trooper Franklin and his classmates from cadet class 44 took the oath of office and were sworn in to the ranks of the Thin Gray Line on February 25, 1972.

Assigned to the Frankfort Post, Glen began the arduous task of learning the many facets of becoming an effective trooper during his first year of employment. His childhood dreams had been realized. He had made it. He was living the dream of being a Kentucky State Trooper.

Those dreams were shattered on November 26, 1972, when Glen was gunned down while attempting to make an undercover bootleg buy in Franklin County. Although he survived the incident, the prognosis was quick and sobering: Trooper Glen Franklin would never walk again. He would be confined to a wheelchair for the remainder of his life.

Administratively speaking, our agency was totally ill-prepared for such an incident. There were no statutory provisions regarding benefits for such a debilitating injury. It took several years and an Executive Order from the Governor before legislation was passed that allowed us to provide the care and coverage for such heroes.

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting with Glen and his wife Janice. They had come to Headquarters to sort out some health insurance issues and I asked to see them. Although I had spoken to him on the phone a few years prior to this, I had never had the pleasure of meeting him personally. Lieutenant Colonel(s) Williams and Miniard joined me in conversation with the Franklins for the next hour. I was immediately struck by the warmth and genuineness of this couple. After nearly forty years in a wheelchair, it would be easy to understand if Glen had become bitter and resentful of the obstacles that life had thrown his way. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Glen was upbeat and still maintained his sense of humor from years past.

Despite his physical challenges, Glen and his wife still live and maintain a working farm in the edge of Franklin County. They recently completed the adoption process of their grandson who they had helped raise and who had encountered numerous problems of abuse while growing up. It was apparent that Glen had made the decision to live life to it’s fullest with the hand of cards he had been dealt.
Glen is still a trooper on injury-time status because of the tax and insurance benefits that wouldn’t be afforded to him if he actually retired. His love and dedication to our agency became apparent when he proudly produced his badge and original identification card. Although he’s physically confined to a mechanized wheelchair, Trooper Glen Franklin still has the heart of a trooper.

During our conversation, it was revealed to me that Glen is driving an older model van that has been equipped for his special needs. However, the van is starting to age and the mechanical lifts that assist him are beginning to fail. I learned that it will take a minimum of three thousand dollars to repair the existing equipment and that the Franklin’s do not receive assistance for these types of expenditures. I should add that this information was told to me in passing and certainly was not a plea for assistance of any kind. This is where I need your help.

As I discussed this amongst members of the Command Staff, we decided that it would be more than appropriate to put out an all call to current and retired members of our agency. Although it’s a lofty goal, I would like to raise enough monies to purchase the Franklin’s a new, fully equipped van for their daily travels. Would you be willing to donate just a few dollars for this man who has sacrificed so much for our agency and the citizens of the Commonwealth?

If so, please mail any donations to Ms. Lucille Marshall in my office no later than November 1, 2011. (Kentucky State Police HQ, 919 Versailles Road, Frankfort, KY 40601). Checks can be made payable to Glen Franklin.

We are quick to recognize our fallen troopers and place their photos and names in hallowed locations throughout our buildings. Unfortunately, we sometimes forget those who have lived with injury and excruciating pain as a result of their service. I hope that you will help coordinate the fundraising efforts for Trooper Franklin in your office, section, post and community. He is truly a forgotten hero that reminded me why we do what we do everyday.

-Rodney Brewer


Safeguard Your Home While on Vacation

Some of our most vulnerable times regarding theft of personal property occur during the summer months. A number of the more widespread, historical scams involve the unscrupulous act of burglarizing homes while families are attending the funeral services of their loved ones. This information is often obtained from the obituaries in local newspapers and/or word of mouth in rural communities. Another tactic used by thieves is during the summer months when vacation times are at their peak. Burglars often peruse neighborhoods in search of homes that look abandoned or “out of place”. Tell-tale signs include uncollected newspapers and mail, porch lights that are left on around the clock, and stationary vehicles in the driveway. Although we have preached preventive measures for years, we still experience a number of break-ins and thefts because individuals did not take the time to safeguard their home and property with some simple, common sense measures.

As social technology has advanced, so have the opportunities for would be thieves. Posting information on your social media site can have devastating consequences while you are away in your travels. For instance, posting photos and daily commentary about your trip to the beach may sound like fun and make your friends green with envy, but the information is a billboard and invitation for would-be thieves to burglarize your home or outbuildings.

Here are some tips regarding ways to safeguard your home and belongings when travelling:
• Always carry travelers checks and a minimum amount of cash
• Leave one or more lights on a timer when away
• Hold all newspaper and mail deliveries until you return
• Make every effort to make your house appear lived in such as hiring your grass mowed and having your neighbor periodically move a vehicle to a different spot in the driveway
• Request that your local police department or the Kentucky State Police conduct periodic checks during the time frame of your absence.
• Provide a trusted neighbor with an emergency phone number in the event that you need to be contacted
• Do not post any reference to your vacation on a social media network until you return from your travels

Utilizing some common sense approaches prior to taking your vacation can go a long way toward safeguarding your home and protecting your valuables.


KSP Targets Cyberspace to Recruit New Troopers

Kentucky State Police (KSP) is tapping into Cyberspace through social media sites like YouTube©, Facebook©, and Twitter© to entice new recruits to join the agency. Today, I am pleased to announce that the agency launched its first of several recruiting videos via YouTube.

Social Media has become a crucial part of how we interact with each other and it accelerates the dissemination of information to the public. This is the way our society is now, especially with our younger generation – they want immediate notification.

KSP is accepting applications for Troopers through October and we are tapping into multiple social media formats to get the word out.

We are excited to launch the KSP YouTube channel with the goal of tapping into the millions of visitors who view that site daily. Marketing our agency through venues like this is a great opportunity to not only increase social chatter but a very cost effective way of marketing when budgets are already stretched thin.

KSP currently has several social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and a Blog located on Blogger.com.

Social Media is not a fad. It will continue to evolve and it is important for agencies to recognize this in order to stay ahead of the curve. With millions of visitors a day, YouTube is a fantastic marketing tool for our Recruitment Branch. The addition of this page will enhance our current social media formats and drive traffic to our agency webpage.

The ‘KSP TV’ YouTube channel is located at http://www.youtube.com/user/kentuckystatepolice where viewers can watch the new recruiting video online.

Website-Monitoring.com posted recent YouTube statistics that show the potential for success when marketing through YouTube. This site currently exceeds two billion views a day and averages 24 hours of video uploads every minute. The average person spends 15 minutes a day on YouTube.

One of the unique things about social media sites is that it allows the public to see a different side of the agency and explore some of the unique projects KSP is involved in.

This first video takes an important process such as recruiting new troopers and blends in a little humor to make it more appealing. Other projects KSP has promoted on their social media sites have been Trooper Island Camp, Unsolved Case Playing Cards, Citizens Police Academy classes, Missing Persons cases, and a National Conference the agency hosted.

I encourage you to visit KSP social media sites and to share your thoughts and opinions about what the agency posts. One of the reasons we have had success with social media, is that we allow for an open forum. If someone disagrees with us or shares a critique of the agency, that is their opinion – and we respect that.

KSP currently has 33,809 followers on Facebook, 1,947 followers on Twitter, 2,900 views on Flickr and the Commissioners Blog has had 7,265 views.
If you are interested in checking out the KSP social media sites, you can click on the following links.

KSP Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kentucky-State-Police/103979825675
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/kystatepolice
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kentuckystatepolice/
KSP Blog “Did You Know That?” http://kentuckystatepolice.blogspot.com/
KSP Website: http://www.kentuckystatepolice.org/


From Prison to Prestige

In 1959, a $450,000 building project was unveiled regarding a new state of the art facility that would house the Kentucky State Police (KSP) training academy, crime laboratory, and the Frankfort barracks. Although primitive by today’s standards, it was the first time that a designated building would actually house, feed, and train Kentucky State Troopers. In 1982 we moved from those cramped quarters into our current structure, which was originally a Ramada Inn hotel. Although an improvement to the deteriorating quarters we had called an academy for nearly twenty years, it has always lacked the necessities for the state of the art training our troopers need and deserve.

When I was appointed KSP Commissioner one of my goals for this agency was to replace our academy with a state of the art facility capable of meeting the challenges we will face in the coming decades. That goal has been recognized and championed by Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear and Justice Cabinet Secretary J. Michael Brown since the early days of this administration. Nonetheless, we all realized that a project of this scope and magnitude would be extremely difficult during these tough economic times.

However, sometimes opportunity presents itself during trying times. Through the support, vision, and leadership of Governor Beshear and Secretary Brown, I’m pleased to announce that the goal of a new Kentucky State Police Academy will soon become a reality. Earlier this month, Governor Beshear held a press conference to announce the closing of one of its thirteen prisons in the Commonwealth. The Frankfort Career Development Center (FCDC) is a 205-bed minimum security detention facility located in Frankfort, Ky. Plans to close this state owned facility stem from projections of a declining prison population and the obvious cost savings associated with the closure. During the press conference, the Governor also outlined plans to convert this incredible facility into a Kentucky State Police training campus.

To provide some historical background, I was approached by Secretary Brown a few months ago regarding this possibility after Kentucky Department of Corrections Commissioner LaDonna Thompson submitted a proposal to close the facility. Secretary Brown and I immediately realized the potential of this opportunity to transform this facility into a first class academy for our agency. Although I will be providing more information in future blogs, the following facts are provided to you regarding this site:

• The campus is located at one of the highest elevation points in Frankfort and encompasses approximately 362 acres.
• The dormitory complex is in excess of 22,000 square feet and can currently house 205 individuals
• The cafeteria can currently feed over 100 personnel at a time.
• An administration building encompasses nearly 10,000 square feet for staff office space.
• 3000 square foot weightlifting and aerobic building.
• A multi-purpose building totaling 4885 square feet that will be converted into a primary classroom.
• A laundry facility where all of our towels and bed linens can be cleaned on site. (We currently pay an outside vendor for this)
• In addition to other buildings, the complex currently has a running track, basketball court and softball field.
• KSP Headquarters will remain in its current location with expansion opportunities to improve efficiency of like services.

In addition to the obvious advantages for our agency, the closure will result in reducing costs for the Department of Corrections while moving low risk inmates into vacant jail space at the county level. This closure will not result in the loss of any jobs for correctional employees. This move is truly a win-win for all involved and the citizenry that we serve.

In 1995, the state’s prison population was around 5,700; by 2010 Kentucky was housing more than 20,700 prisoners – and no surprise, state spending for corrections went from $140 million in 1990 to $440 million by 2000.

To say that we are excited about this project is an understatement! I believe that this is the largest initiative that we have ever been involved in during my tenure with the Kentucky State Police. The possibilities are limitless and will change the way KSP does business for decades to come. I applaud the support of Governor Beshear and Secretary Brown on providing our agency this unique opportunity for growth and development.


RED LIGHTS: Put the Brakes On!

Everyone is in a hurry these days and that is reflected in the erratic driving behavior we often see by drivers rushing to get somewhere. ‘Red Light Runners’ are on the rise and more alarming is the carnage that they are leaving behind in their haste.

Last year, 676 people were killed and an estimated 116,000 were injured in crashes involving drivers who ran red lights, stops signs and other traffic control devices. In Kentucky, there were 3,695 collisions resulting in 31 deaths from crashes caused by disregarding traffic signals.

Enforcement is the key to getting people to comply with the law, but communities don’t have the resources to allow law enforcement to patrol intersections as often as is needed to ticket all motorists who run red lights. Many cities have installed cameras at large intersections and studies show that these cameras have been effective in reducing the number of citations written for disregarding traffic signals in these areas.

If you are not familiar with the camera system, it consists of installing a recording device at an intersection to take a snapshot of a vehicle as it illegally goes through when the light is red. A 2011 Study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety compared large cities with red light cameras to those without, found that the devices reduced the fatal red light running crash rate by 24 percent.

Some drivers feel that use of the red light cameras is an infringement of their privacy when in all actuality, driving is a regulated activity on public roads. By obtaining a license, a motorist agrees to abide by certain laws, such as obeying traffic signals.

While this blog is not about whether or not to install red light cameras, the proven effective results of these devices cannot be ignored.
So what types of drivers usually run red lights? Traffic surveys indicate that as a group, they are under 30 and male and most have had prior crashes and citations for speeding and other moving violations. It is not easy to determine how often people run red lights but with the number of crashes involving running red lights increasing, the need for safety awareness is long overdue.

Often times, Red Light Runners who get caught think they’ve been wronged. They’re convinced that their citation is nothing more than a scheme to pick the pockets of motorists. The truth is simpler: Red Light Running Kills.

Jacy Good from Allentown, PA can attest to that. Jacy had just graduated from college and was in a car with her parents, headed back home to celebrate her accomplishments with family and friends. Nearly halfway home, a chain reaction set off by a Red Light Runner sent a tractor trailer into the side of their car. Jacy, who was in the front seat, was left with traumatic brain injury, partially collapsed lungs, a lacerated liver, 2 damaged carotid arteries, and a shattered pelvis. Weeks later, when she regained consciousness, she learned that her parents were not so lucky – as they succumbed to their injuries.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) indicates that many drivers actually speed up when going through a red light in an effort to ‘make the light’ which in turn causes more significant damages in crashes.

NHTSA also determined that distracted driving is another factor in running red lights. Drivers who are texting, talking on the phone, eating or distracted doing something else are not keeping their eyes on the road and therefore may run the light without ever being aware it was even red. Other times, when drivers are distracted, they are driving too fast for conditions and not able to have enough time to slow down or stop before entering an intersection.

Just a few facts to leave you with:

• The Red Light Runner accounts for 36% of the red light running crash deaths and another 12% are the occupants in the Red Light Runners vehicle.
• 46% percent of Red Light Running crash deaths are occupants of vehicles that did NOT run the red light.
• 10% of red light runners in fatal crashes were teenagers.
• 22% of Red Light Runners in fatal crashes were driving without licenses.
• 11% of people killed in red light crashes were motorcyclists.
This leads us to ask ourselves…Is it really worth it? Will the amount of time saved by running a red light justify taking the innocent life of another?

Red Light Runners: Please put the brakes on!

Article References:
2009 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Study.
NHTSA: Guidance for Using Red Light Cameras Report. http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/enforce/guidance03/Guidancereport.pdf
Status Report, Volume 46, No. 1, Feb, 1, 2011.