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Longtime officer's skills, heritage help garner honor

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Columbus Division of Police Officer Greg Franken, a Dublin resident, was named the 2014 Outstanding Officer of Irish Heritage and presented with the honor March 14 by Columbus City Councilman Zach Klein.
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Retirement seems far off for Columbus Division of Police Robbery Squad detective Greg Franken.

The 20-year Dublin resident calls his career in law enforcement the only thing he can imagine doing.

"It's always something different," Franken said.

"Even in the times we're in a rut, I can't imagine doing a job where you sit at a desk in a cubicle every day."

Franken, however, will retire in May and looks at the 2014 Outstanding Officer of Irish Heritage honor from Columbus as a summation of his 34 years in law enforcement.

"I'm grateful," Franken said of receiving the honor.

"Out of all the awards I've received, this one I hold dearest to me," he said.

"I'm proud of my Irish heritage and I look at it as an award for my entire body of work."

Franken received the award from Councilman Zach Klein during the Shamrock Club of Columbus' annual Proclamation Day ceremony March 14 in Columbus City Council chambers. The program is part of the annual St. Patrick's Day celebration the club sponsors.

"He's a very good detective, there's no doubt about that," said officer Mike Malloy, a member of the Columbus Police Department's Career Criminal Squad.

After knowing Franken for 33 years, Malloy said he couldn't think of a reason not to nominate him for the honor.

"I was happy it was going to him," Malloy said.

"This is his last chance to get it, but I didn't want it going to his head."

The teasing between Malloy and Franken extended to the announcement of the award.

"I thought he was messing with me," Franken said about when he learned of the honor.

But Franken's resume shows otherwise.

He was recognized by citizens in 1991 for finding a missing 8-year-old boy.

He's a four-time recipient of the Bank Robbery Investigator of the Year award from the Public Eye organization.

His honors also include being recognized by both the ATF and FBI for the investigation of violent bank robberies in Columbus.

"He's going to be missed, especially with his experience," Malloy said.

"There are times he gets a picture from a bank (robbery) and says 'That looks like so-and-so that got busted 10 years ago.'

"A couple of days later, we'll find out it was the same guy," Malloy said.

"He has lots of experience and he's very, very good at his job."

Looking back on his career, Franken said he's proud of the relationships he's established with other law-enforcement jurisdictions.

"I like to think they would depend on me," he said. "I like to think I've built that kind of reputation."

"That's one of the things Greg is really good at," Malloy agreed.

"Most jurisdictions don't work together enough."

Franken said he was drawn into law enforcement after watching his father, a newspaper reporter, primarily covering the courts beat.

Harry Franken was a well-known and respected reporter for The Columbus Citizen-Journal and later The Columbus Dispatch.

"It planted the seed for me," Franken said.

"I was too lazy to be an attorney," he said with a laugh. "This was the next best thing."

Even though Franken said he loves his job, the prospect of retirement isn't frightening.

He's a member of the Emerald Society, an organization whose members are police officers and firefighters, and the Shamrock Club.

He has a trip to Ireland planned.

"I'm looking forward to retirement, but it's not the end of working," Franken said.

"I hope to do something with the courts or something investigative.

"I've got no other skills or talents so this is it," he said

Franken lives in Dublin with his wife, Jacqueline, and two daughters.

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