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Law board denies seatbelt grant

By Bethany Knipp

The Riley County Law Board Monday denied RCPD a state grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation for seat belt enforcement.

The commissioners voted 6-1 against KDOT’s Nighttime Seat Belt Enforcement Program grant, which is awarded to local and state law enforcement agencies for increased enforcement of safety belts, child passenger safety, texting and impaired driving.

“It simply just pays for the overtime to put extra officers out to reinforce alcohol violations, as well as specifically seat belt use,” RCPD Capt. Kurt Moldrup said at the meeting.

Chairman John Matta said he didn’t support RCPD receiving the grant.

“There is something called personal responsibility that people have to exercise for themselves; and to pay overtime for that, I don’t think is a wise use of tax dollars,” he said.

RCPD Capt. Tim Hegarty said the police department will pursue seat belt enforcement with or without the grant, since wearing a seat belt is required by law.

“We feel that seat belt enforcement is an important way to help save lives,” Hegarty said.

He said there were a variety of reasons that the board opposed the funding for the grant so heavily.

“Some people don’t see the police as protecting people from themselves,” he said. “We’re the only jurisdiction that hasn’t accepted this funding.”

Commissioner Rich Jankovich voted against the measure.

“It’s law enforcement’s job to protect us from the bad guys and not protect us from ourselves,” he said.

Jankovich said to specifically target seat belt use when it’s already a law seemed “a little overreaching.”

In other business, the law board unanimously approved a contract between Swanson Services Corporation and the RCPD to simplify its inmate fund activities.

The department tracks inmate deposits, medical expenses, commissary and bonding activity with the inmate fund account.

RCPD Director Brad Schoen said Swanson Services Corporation was the best fit because it had automated kiosks for easy deposits without cash.

The police department also made a retirement announcement and a promotion announcement.

Lt. Michael Quintanar will retire after more than 30 years with the department and Officer Erin Freidline will become commander of the third watch in the patrol division with her promotion.

Friedline joined the department in 2000 and currently supervises the day shift in the patrol division.

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