Equipment from drug raid to be donated to local school

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FRANKLIN, Ind. (March 4, 2015) – One year after police shut down a major drug operation in Franklin, some of the equipment seized in the raid will be donated to a local school. Franklin police discovered more than 500 marijuana plants growing inside an old commercial building at the corner of Hurricane Road and Eastview Drive in early March 2014.  Franklin Police Chief Tim O’Sullivan said it was the largest marijuana growing operation he had ever seen.

“Irrigation system, of course the high end lights, everything was just set up on a high end scale,” O’Sullivan said.

For the last year, nearly $5,000 worth of special lights and fans have been sitting in the Franklin Police Department’s property hold.  The city of Franklin recently deemed the items as surplus property, which means it belongs to the police department.

“So at that point, we have the opportunity to sell it, destroy it, put it in city auction,” O’Sullivan said.

Instead of selling it or putting it up for auction, Chief O’Sullivan got the idea to donate it to a local school district.  His Deputy Chief called Franklin Community Schools.

“And he said they have some equipment from a drug bust that they were going to be able to turn over as surplus property,” said Franklin Community Schools Superintendent Dr. David Clendening.  “Would we be interested?”

The answer was “yes.”

As it turns out, the lamps and fans would be a great addition to Franklin Community High School’s greenhouse.  The new equipment would help the school expand its biology program.

“We’re looking at it from the educational standpoint of being able to grow plants inside our greenhouse during the winter time,” Clendening said.  “And obviously use it for some advance placement opportunities in some biology classes.”

The donation will also help FFA members to grow better products at the high school and use them for their annual fundraiser.

“I think it’s another example of a great partnership between the city, the police department and Franklin Community Schools,” Clendening said.

Donating the lamps and fans will also help Franklin Police control where they end up, rather than putting them up for auction and releasing them to the open market.

“It’s best to use this for the kids and help the school at the same time, and it helps the community,” O’Sullivan said.  “And it alleviates all our fears of having another grow because of something we put back on the street.”

Franklin Community School Board members plan to accept the gift Monday night.  School officials plan to install the new equipment during the spring, and hopefully turn a criminal operation into an educational tool in time for the start of next school year.

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