RCPD trims proposed budget by $119,000

By Bethany Knipp

The Riley County Police Department reduced its proposed 2015 budget by $119,000 in an effort to meet suggestions from Riley County Law Board.

RCPD director Brad Schoen presented the numbers at a budget workshop meeting on Monday.

Despite trimming and reallocating money here and there, the budget has yet to be approved by the board, although the timing is ahead of schedule.

The biggest changes in this year’s proposal of the $18,945,000 budget include the addition of two dispatchers, an information tech, a 1.4 percent cost of living (COLA) raise and the movement of a crime analyst position to a contract.

The biggest area of concern for some law board members was the dispatch hire.

Member Wynn Butler wanted Schoen to look further into dispatchers’ schedules to see if the police department would be overstaffing.

“Clearly, data analysis would show you that at certain times you’re going to need more dispatchers and having the same number there 24/7 is not an efficient use of people there,” Butler said.

Schoen said there had been times, including during one of this winter’s storms, when dispatchers weren’t able to answer 911 calls.

“At times, the system is overloaded,” he said. 

Schoen said during one storm in particular, the dispatchers couldn’t answer eight 911 calls, emphasizing the need for those positions — although he didn’t suggest that was the main motivation for the desired hires.

“I suspect if we had that extra dispatcher that day, we still would have been overloaded,” Schoen said.

The main motivation comes from an increased number number of emergency calls, and the need for more communication with Riley County EMS and Manhattan and Riley County fire departments.

“If you asked me my opinion, I think this is necessity stuff and not convenience stuff,” Schoen said.

Law board members and RCPD officials will talk about the budget again at the next law board meeting on Monday.

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