Today Lt. Jeff Franks begins his last call on the radio after 30 years in law enforcement with the Natchitoches Police Department.
Franks, a graduate of Natchitoches Central and Northwestern State University, always had a knack for wanting to help people. He had several role models when he was in high school who worked for the police department that made him want to be a police officer because he watched how they interacted with youth in the community. This included John Pueblo, Randy Williams, Ricky Jones, Mike Durr, and Brad Rains.
“Interacting with officers like these men made me want to be like them,” said Franks, who first started working for the NPD in 1992 making $6.10 per hour.
It’s been fulfilling for Franks, who finished a degree in criminal justice at NSU in 2011.
“It’s meant so much to me to be able to serve the citizens of Natchitoches and to be treated with so much respect,” he added. “It’s been a great career and since I’m such a ‘people person’ I’ve loved all the people I’ve met through the years and the relationships I’ve formed with them.”
Franks worked in the Investigations Division for 10 years. He worked as a motor officer from 94-96, but continued to ride for special events and festivals over the past 20 years. Needless to say, he can’t go anywhere in town without running into people and having conversations with them.
While the list of people Franks knows is long, so is the list of people who have impacted his career.
Lester Lee Sr. and Charlie Vienne Sr. spoke up for Franks when he first applied to the police department. They went above and beyond to help him succeed.
Dorris and her husband Albert Wineberg, a retired NPD police officer, gave Franks nothing but support.
John and Tony Lodrigue taught Franks a lot of what he knows.
Johnny, Merle, Michael and Danielle Antoon who Jeff worked security on and off at Antoons and the Student Body for 28 years.
Larry Vaughn was over investigations before he served as assistant and interim chief. He taught me the ropes in investigations.
The support of Franks’ family means the world to him. His wife Patricia and children Haley Lynn and Jeffrey Jr. hold things down at home when he’s on shifts.
There’s too many others to name them all: Mayor Joe Sampite, Russell Roge, James Donaho, Ret. NPD Police Chief Micky Dove, and former Police Chief Keith Thompson.
“You don’t mention it because you’re busy with your career, but when you look back on it, all these men treated me with respect and taught me everything I know today,” Franks said appreciatively.
Franks plans on spending time with his 11-month-old grand baby Easton. He also picked up golf a few years ago and plans on playing more while also catching up on the honey-do list at home. After a few months, who knows what his next adventure will be…