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Grant for guns approved

By Katherine Wartell

Law Board members gave the go-ahead Monday for the Riley County Police Department to apply for a grant that could arm police officers assigned to school buildings.

The grant, administered by the Bureau of Justice Administration under the Justice Assistance Grant Program, would allow three Sig Sauer rifles, totaling $2,526, to be kept on school grounds. Assistant Director John Doehling wrote in a memorandum that the rifles would be available for use by school resource officers in times of “extreme school violence.” The guns would be kept on both campuses of Manhattan High School and Riley County High School.

Currently, school resource officers keep the rifles in their cars.

The grant would not cover secure storage vaults. Doehling said that cost would be covered by additional funds from the department’s budget. 

Doehling said the department has been allocated $20,835 from the grant program. The majority of that, excepting the purchase of the guns, will go toward an online reporting system used to reduce patrol officer involvement in the crime reporting process.

For certain crimes, the online tool will negate the need for a patrol officer to meet face-to-face with the reporting party, Doehling said, reducing the time officers use to write reports.

The department has received more than $200,000 in funds from the grant program since 2005.

On Monday, board members voted unanimously to approve the department applying for the grant.

County commissioners will vote on the matter Thursday.

Range facility, Stampede

During June’s monthly meeting, Capt. Tim Hegarty also updated board members on plans for a new department range and training facility.

At the request of the board, he presented photographs of the current facility, noting shortcomings in its design.

Officials are debating between working with the current range, which has had issues with ricocheted bullets in neighboring property, and building a new facility on an 81-acre plot already owned by the county.

The costs of such construction have not been finalized pending further research and action on the part of the county.

In another unanimous vote Monday, board members approved a contract for service between the police department and Country Stampede LLC, in which several Riley County officers will be available at any given time during the day at the site of Country Stampede. Officers will also be available for traffic control along the intersection of Highway 24 and the Tuttle Creek Dam outlet streets.

Director Brad Schoen said the contract was much the same as last year’s.

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