Residents may see more of the university police force patrolling in new areas in town since an updated policing agreement between the Riley County and K-State police departments went into effect in January.
Prior to the memorandum of understanding being signed, K-State police officers were limited to patrolling and policing on university-owned, operated and occupied property.
The new agreement allows them to exercise their full policing authority granted under state law in some areas and neighborhoods adjacent to the university, as well as on off-campus student group and Greek property.
“The agreement expanded their patrol area to locations off campus where there is a significant population of students,” said RCPD Patrol Capt. Rich Fink, who mainly worked with K-State police on updating the agreement.
In those locations, K-State police can investigate, cite and/or arrest someone if necessary.
It also allows K-State police to respond first to incidents in Manhattan and Riley County if they see them while on the way to other K-State property, such as the Konza Prairie.
“They may see something happening, a crime in progress or an active traffic accident or something where they need to do something as a police officer,” Fink said at a previous law board meeting. “We (RCPD) of course would respond, but this gives them the ability to take immediate action. They’re not going to be proactively looking for things while crossing through those territories, but if they see something that needs immediate attention they can address those things.”
K-State would then generally hand over the rest of the investigation to RCPD.
In places where K-State does not have primary jurisdiction, the agreement says efforts by K-State police outside of university property “shall occur only after making a reasonable attempt to provide appropriate notification of and coordination with RCPD, as applicable under the circumstances.”
Though K-State police can now respond to those incidents, RCPD still has first priority in investigating incidents that take place on student group property and areas where large numbers of students congregate, such as Aggieville.
Fink said having K-State police in Aggieville is not new as RCPD has asked for their help there in the past.
“Aggieville is not part of the agreement (of their expanded patrol area), however, we have been requesting their assistance on Friday and Saturday nights in Aggieville,” Fink said.
Fink added that RCPD also would still have primary responsibility for investigating incidents at Greek housing, and the agreement encourages K-State police to be more involved in investigations with students.
“If they ask to conduct an investigation for whatever reason we feel that that’s more appropriate for them to do that, we go ahead and let them take primary (responsibility) over it,” Fink said. “Any major cases, felonies, person felonies or anything like that, we’re going to be investigating.”
With additional officers policing in town, Fink said the agreement helps both agencies spread out their workload more evenly.