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Franklin school recipient of items seized in drug bust

FRANKLIN, Ind. – A year after a drug bust in Johnson County, the items seized in the raid will be put to good use.

Science students at Franklin Community High School will be getting a big upgrade in their greenhouse after police decided to donate the gear they seized in a marijuana bust rather than sell it off.

“I think it’s going to make a big difference,” Franklin schools Superintendent Dr. David Clendening said. “We’re going to have growing season extend into the winter, where right now you’ll see it in the fall and spring. We do have some heating lamps and opportunities, but this will just be more exposure.”

Police seized lamps, fans and planter stands during a pot bust last year in Franklin.

They could have sold the equipment at auction to pad the city’s general fund, but thought better of it.

“I just didn’t really feel comfortable putting this back out on the street,” Franklin police Chief Tim O’Sullivan said. “This way, I can control where it’s going and know what it’s being used for and feel good about it.”

Instead, the equipment will be installed in the Franklin Community High School greenhouse, allowing students to grow more vegetables and flowers to sell and conduct more science experiments.

“The grow lights that we have currently are circular shaped, they’re not very big at all,” Heather Dougherty, an agriculture teacher at Franklin Community High School, said. “Getting the grow lights from the police department will definitely benefit our chapter when we come out here and do greenhouse because they are longer, they’re wider and they cover more area.”

Buying new lamps like the ones to be donated run about $2000 a piece, a cost the school was not looking to take on. The new equipment will be a much needed upgrade.

“It kind of goes to show you the connection that we have in our community with law enforcement officers, with other businesses in the community and they are wanting to give back to education because they think it’s important in our community,” Dougherty said.

The school board will formally accept the donation next week. There’s a little bit of prep work to do, like some rewiring, but the school hopes to have the equipment in place at the greenhouse by the end of the school year.