Tragic: Retired Police Liutenant taking part in Unity Tour Dies following Bicycle Accident

drone police unity tour 2016 picThe law enforcement community today is mourning the passing of retired police Liutenant Joseph Franklin, who died last night, succumbing to injuries sustained during the Police Unity Tour.

Chief Marc Palanchi released the following statement:

“Sadly the Roxbury Township Police Department announces the passing of Retired Lieutenant Joseph Franklin. Lt. Franklin was involved in a serious bicycle accident while participating in the 20th Annual Police Unit Tour on Monday May 9th, 2016.

Lt. Franklin served 25 years with the Roxbury Township Police Department starting with his appointment as a Patrolman on March 24, 1982. During his long and successful career Joe served the agency in many different ranks and capacities, but his greatest contribution to our Department and the community was his initiation of Explorer Post 2188 in 1991. Over 500 young men and women participated in the Explorer’s Program during Joe’s supervision. He gave his time, energy and provided leadership and guidance to young people effortlessly. Following the example set forth by Joe, many of those explorers went on to become police officers, while others simply went on to become productive members of society. Explorer Post 2188 and Joe received many awards over the years both locally and nationally, recognizing them for their commitment to the community and the program itself. Joe assisted multiple Morris County agencies with starting their own respective Explorer Posts, broadening the network that reached hundreds more young people and strengthened those communities, like our Post did for Roxbury Township. Joe Franklin was practicing Community Policing long before anybody was even calling it that.

Joe served as a Patrolman, Traffic Officer, Patrol Sergeant, Traffic Sergeant, Patrol Lieutenant, Traffic Lieutenant and Community Services Lieutenant during his career. He was a 1997 graduate of the prestigious West Point Command and Leadership program. Joe was awarded the 1993 William H. Spurgeon Leadership Award by the Boy Scouts of America. Joe established the one week Police Explorer Academy, which gave kids an opportunity to experience what it was like to attend a Police Academy.

imageI saw Joe Monday at the starting line to the Unity Tour and spoke with him for about 30 minutes. Joe was enthusiastic about how much he was enjoying retirement and how great everything was going in North Carolina. He told me he had become an avid bike rider and said he started every day with a 25-35 mile ride, and then he would play golf or head to the beach. He was excited about and looking forward to the Unity Tour to ride in honor of the fallen and see all of his friends who were also making the trip. We shook hands, wished each other well and he told me to tell all of the guys to be safe as he rode away. A short time later he was involved in the accident.

Joe gave to others his entire career and continued giving back to Law Enforcement during his retirement and ultimately gave his life during his last ride. Even today, he is still giving. Joe is giving the gift of life to others by donating his organs. One final heroic act.

If I could use one word to sum Joe up best it would be honorable.

God Bless you Joe, you were part of the Roxbury Police Department family and we along with many others will miss you.”

May he rest in peace.


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