Riley County Police Department Director Brian Peete, left, talks with Eric and Jurdene Coleman during a meet-and-greet Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023, at Flint Hills Discovery Center in Manhattan. Eric Coleman is a school resource officer with the Wamego Police Department. Jurdene Coleman formerly served on the Manhattan-Ogden school board.
The Manhattan community had the opportunity to meet the new Riley County Police Department director Thursday evening during a welcoming ceremony at the Flint Hills Discovery Center.
“To me, it highlighted the expectations of what the community wants in the department and myself,” RCPD director Brian Peete said. “It was important for me because I got to see everybody and hear what everybody wanted and hear what everybody’s thoughts were and again just to feel welcomed. I just never had anything like this before.”
The Riley County police board hosted the ceremony, and about 50 members of the community gathered around to talk to Peete, whose first day was Dec. 30.
“This is what I call an old-fashioned welcome where you just welcome someone to the community,” said Linda Morse, former board member.
Some members of the public included mayor Mark Hatesohl and U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., who lives in Manhattan. It was Moran’s first time meeting the new director.
“I came to get acquainted, shake hands, and as a citizen of this community, welcome him and thank him for being a law enforcement officer,” Moran said.
Eric Coleman, a school resource officer from the Wamego Police Department, also attended.
“He seems really welcoming, and I think he really wants to do a job and I’m excited to hear that,” Coleman said.
At the end of the event, Peete said he received a lot of information from the community.
“A lot of positive feedback regarding how the department has handled itself, how the department is taking care of things, how the department is immersed with the community,” Peete said. “There were some folks that said we want to talk to you about certain things we want to make sure there’s fair and impartial policing and there’s equality.”
Having lived in Manhattan for almost a month, Peete said he loves the friendliness and the people.
“I wake up every day honestly smiling,” he said. “I can’t believe I get to live here, and I can’t believe I get to do the job I do and with the people I do. It’s really a blessing for me.”