Franks talks role with JPD, dedication to community

By NICOLE SMITH, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 2/16/17

Oakman native Cory Franks has spent the past few months serving as his hometown’s new mayor, but his primary job requires a badge — one that he treasures.

Franks works as a detective in the Criminal Investigation Division of the Jasper Police …

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Franks talks role with JPD, dedication to community

Posted

Oakman native Cory Franks has spent the past few months serving as his hometown’s new mayor, but his primary job requires a badge — one that he treasures.

Franks works as a detective in the Criminal Investigation Division of the Jasper Police Department.

After being hired to work at JPD in 2012, Franks attended the Alabama Advanced Criminal Justice Academy in Montgomery for 14 weeks. He first worked as a patrol officer for the police department and quickly climbed the ranks to work in the narcotics division in a patrol officers capacity. He later worked as a school resource officer. Franks was then promoted to detective sargeant before obtaining his current job as a detective.

“Growing up, I would always see Anthony Hammond policing when I would be in Jasper, and at one point he worked for the county,” Franks said. “The respect that he got from people in the community and the things that he did for people in the community, I always said that was something I would like to do. ... He was kind of my mentor and played a major role in me becoming an officer and being where I am today in this profession.”

Franks said only one or two African American officers worked for JPD when he began his career there.

“We’ve come a long way from how things were just 10 years ago. This department has done a really good job in trying to be more diverse on a lot of issues and the diversity training that we go through,” he said. “I don’t think we have an issue here like you see on different news outlets. ... I think we do a really good job to try to erase any type of racial barriers that may be preventing us from doing our jobs.”

A typical day for Franks consists of reviewing the cases he is assigned and taking the investigative measures necessary to solve a crime. “You start actually working the case, getting evidence, going out and getting statements, based on the crime,” he said.

Being involved in community affairs is paramount to the detective, which is one reason he campaigned to be mayor of Oakman. Even in his role with JPD, Franks said he makes a cognizant effort to interact with community members, particularly area youth.

“Another reason why I became an officer is to be a familiar face in the neighborhood. It is comforting when someone comes to your door that is someone you can relate to or someone who may better understand your environment and the things that you deal with,” he said. “I don’t want the kids to just see me when they’re in trouble. I try to go out to different sporting events and things of that nature to support the kids that I see. ... I always make it a point to try to talk to them and encourage them any chance that I get, and just let them know that it doesn’t matter that you’re black, you can do whatever you want to do.”

Franks said he is also trying to improve the image of the police force and battle negative convictions that exist.

“Any young man that’s considering being a police officer, I would definitely tell them to do their research, reach out to someone in this position and find out what it takes to do this job,” Franks said. “It’s OK to be a police officer because I feel like, in a lot of homes, being a police officer is taken off the table. ... A lot of times, not just in the black community, but kids grow up hearing negative things about the police and so they don’t want to do it, but for a kid who wants to make a difference and wants to better themselves and their community, I definitely think making the decision to be a police officer would be a great decision. There’s nothing wrong with being a police officer. We just live in a time to where we’re under a lot of scrutiny for a lot of things that happen around the country. It’s a very, very fulfilling career choice.”

Franks also uses his time to visit schools and mentor young men and women who will soon be making a career choice, and when Franks isn’t fulfilling his duties as mayor or detective, he said he is at home with his wife and kids. “That’s the only time you can kind of relax and unwind a little bit,” he said.

Moving forward, Franks said he is going to continue having an active role in the community.

“I didn’t become a police officer to just put bad guys in jail. I get my satisfaction out of the job when I’m able to help someone who is just going down the wrong path, or when I can mentor a young man who’s made some bad decisions. ... That’s when I feel the satisfaction of my job,” Franks said. “It’s been a pleasure ... being able to be in the community and try to sympathize with individuals who may have had a run in with the police, may have had a bad run in with the police, and try to build our reputation to where it should be.”