After 30 Years of Climbing the Ranks Franklin Township Chief of Police Retires

Franklin Township Chief of Police Lawrence Roberts retired on December 31, 2017 after 30 years of public service. He leaves the force with advice on how to maintain a positive relationship with the Franklin Township community. According to Roberts, honesty, integrity, persistence, and hard work is what the residents appreciate about the Franklin Township Police.

Roberts started his career as a patrol officer in December 1987. In 1994, he was appointed to the Street Crimes Unit. Six years later, he was promoted to sergeant, which gave him jurisdiction over the Patrol Division. Roberts quickly moved into the Neighborhood Police Team (NPT) where he interacted with Franklin Township residents. Shortly after, Roberts was promoted to captain and was appointed as Operations Commander where he supervised both the Patrol and Investigative Divisions. Roberts attributes his success to the command staff, the officers, and the community for allowing him to move up the ranks.  In 2006, he became the Deputy Chief and five years later served as Chief of Police.

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As a graduate of the College of New Jersey, Roberts earned his undergraduate degree in Communication and his master’s degree in Business Administration. Robert’s takes great pride in the fact that the Franklin Township Police has an exceeding number of personnel with master’s degrees. He also notes the importance of having a very modern, well-educated and professional police department.

When Roberts started his career he remembers not having a cell phone. With the growth in technology, law enforcement has been shaped by the ongoing developments of cell phones, crime investigation software, DNA software, traffic cameras and body cameras.  “The department should continue to grow as new laws and technology in law enforcement continues to develop. I think this profession is going to be more technologically driven like everything else,” said Roberts.

He also felt that there would always be a need for police and emergency services which technology could never replace. “Even if the department has the best equipment, it cannot replace the need for an active dialogue. When a citizen goes to sleep they want to know that they live in a safe town. Citizens also need to know that they have a professional police department that is taking care of the problem, and follows the basic principal of working with the community cooperatively. Investigations take time and patience.”


As of Friday, January 5, Deputy Chief Richard Grammar was named as Roberts’ successor and was sworn in at the Franklin Township Council Meeting on January 9, Roberts offers advice to his successor. “Continue to work with the men and women of the police department, with community leaders, and the citizens and grow on what we have accomplished here. You could always do better. I believe that. When you think you are at the top and have done it all that is when things get stagnant and things go south. You can always do better. I just want this department to grow and see it do better.”

The former chief once worked for the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) where he was given the opportunity to travel around the world to different posts. Roberts missed the hometown feeling of Franklin, and transferred back to the police department where he had an opportunity to continue his work with community leaders, the governing body and citizens.  After a three decades of police work he is ready to move on. Roberts plans to travel around the world and enjoy some well-deserved relaxation.

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