More budget discussion by Riley County Law Board

RCPD Asst. Dir. John Doeling before Riley County Law Board

While more tweaking is obviously needed, progress on the Riley County Police budget was made Monday, with praise from the four law board members still present at the end of the meeting. Board member Mike Dodson was just one who complimented RCPD administrators for their work on the complicated 2018 budget…
 Board Chair Craig Beardsley mentioned some decisions still need to be made, particularly regarding  the cost of living increase, and while indicating support of the education benefit and shift differential allotments–the amount remains in question..
One option being considered is a 2.08 increase for a budget of about $20,753,879.
The possible expense of a mental health co-responder positions was included in the 2018 budget proposal, although hopes are the city’s Special Alcohol Fund Advisory committee may help with some of the funding. RCPD Assistant Director John Doehling explained the $140,000 involved would be an addition to the contractual services portion of the budget but the budget could be reduced and republished if needed later in the process. And RCPD Director Brad Schoen agreed it made sense to approach the potential funding of the new positions in that way.

Board member Usha Reddi suggested RCPD officials be prepared to talk about what the current co-responder is already doing, although it’s been a short amount of time. Assistant City Manager Kiel Mangus indicated a positive meeting had already been held between the advisory committee and co-responder liaisons.

Budget increases for computer contractual services also created some discussion during Monday’s Riley County Law Board meeting. Board Chair Craig Beardsley expressed his concerns about keeping up with technology.

 Doehling indicated Beardsley’s not alone in his frustration. But Doehling indicated those working on the budget have tried to look into the future as much as possible. Captain Tim Hegarty added one misconception involving technology is that it never saves significant time and money as some might hope.Hegarty says technology just gives you access to more information more quickly to a wider audience. The proposed increase to computer contractual services was nearly 20 percent, with $93,000 to be added to that account.

Crisis Center Ex. Dir. Judy Davis

The Police Response Advocate Program with the Crisis Center was discussed  with the program’s 20th anniversary. More than 11 thousand times the past two decades a local Crisis Center representative has accompanied a Riley County Police Officer on domestic violence related calls. Crisis Center Executive Director Judy Davis told law board members while numbers have increased, she has a more pressing concern and that’s the severity of injuries involved and prevalence of weapons.

Riley County Attorney and Board member Barry Wilkerson described it as “an invaluable program in combatting domestic violence.”

Also during the meeting proclamations were presented by Law Board chair Craig Beardsley for National Police Week and National Correctional officers week.

Photos by Cathy Dawes

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