‘Community guy’ in police commisioner race

‘Community guy’ in police commisioner race

As one of three commissioners in the Port Washington Police Department, Dave Franklin said he focuses on community interaction.

“I’m the community guy,” he said. “The two other commissioners have law enforcement experience, and I bring the voice of the community in a different perspective.”

Franklin, a commissioner for six years, is running unopposed for re-election on Dec. 13, and said he’s “looking forward to continuing his work with the department and the community.”

Commissioners serve two-year terms. 

Franklin said there should be a separation between community and politics, so nothing interferes with the residents’ voices.

“I hate politics, but I strongly believe in the public,” he said. “No matter if something is good, bad or indifferent, you need to know what’s going on in the community.”

Franklin, the newest of the three chiefs, said a steady stream of information flows from the community to the Police Department, and he handles most of it.

“It could be something like parents telling me that people are flying through stop signs near the schools,” Franklin said. “I’ll tell the chief, and he’ll get someone out there to stop the problem. Communication is key in the department, and it usually starts at the community level.”

Franklin has lived in Port Washington for 30 years and works for HBO as an engineer doing satellite transmission.

Franklin, who has been married to his wife, Susette, for 32 years and has two sons, Richard and Jon, grew up in Jersey City. He studied communications at St. Louis University.

After studying radio in college, Franklin said, he developed communication skills that he’s been able to use throughout his entire career: from his time as production assistant at MSG to his work with the Police Department.

“I am in the technology world at HBO, but I’ve always been a people person,” he said. “When I’m out there, I listen to what people have to say. That’s what is missing in politics, listening to the people and doing what they want.”

Being comfortable speaking to large crowds, Franklin began performing stand-up comedy at local comedy clubs around Long Island and New York City.

“We used to have Comedy Central in the building, and I would watch the acts,” he said. “I would always say to myself ‘man, I can do that. I can make people laugh.’ So I took a class, wrote my own material and did it. It was natural.”

Not only does he have a community bond through his police work, but also through the charities he donates his time to, including  the Red Stocking Revue, a benefit show for CancerCare, he said.

Every year, Franklin also has his head shaved for cancer research, he said.

“I do whatever I can to give back to the community,” Franklin said. “If it means dressing up as a girl or a flower for the Red Stocking Revue, I’m in. I do it every year.”

Once a year, Franklin gets together with other musicians as  part of “The Paper Bag,” the world’s longest-running 70-piece rock band, “to play rock n’ roll music until 4 a.m.”

“It’s great fun,” he said. “It’s just another way to be involved in the community.”

Franklin said besides his community outreach role in the department, he has oversight of the budget, the 62 officers in the department and handles other administrative roles.

“I’m very proud of our police force,” Franklin said. “We have men and women who actually make a difference in this community. They put their lives on the line and that’s truly astounding and admirable. They rush toward the problems.”

By Stephen Romano

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