From the anticipated discussion of dealing with drinking establishments to the treatment of a suicide four years ago–Riley County Law Board members heard from a variety of folks during a lengthy Monday meeting with some of the discussion becoming emotional. Earlier in the meeting local bar owner Rusty Wilson even apologized to Sgt. Brad Ingalls,after originally picking him out as harrassing him. Riley County Police Director Brad Schoen told the board his findings, saying the complaint was unfounded and didn’t happen.
Wilson at one point in the meeting talked about needing the help of the police but toward the end of the meeting, Wilson’s tone changed–toward Director Schoen and County Attorney Barry Wilkerson, who serves on the law board. Wilson wanted to show signed statements, video, and pictures to law board members only.
Two bar owners including Brett Allred and Billy Porter indicated a good working relationship with police.
One presentation came from a woman who lost her son to suicide four years ago. Melodie Pooler spoke to board members, tearfully recounting the way she says Riley County Police dealt with her sons’ suicide in November of 2009, expressing frustration,anger, and confusion during the process.She suggested working together and more training for officers in dealing with mental health matters, stressing she doesn’t expect them to be supermen, but just wants listening and caring.
Director Schoen empathized with Pooler, although questioned some of the allegations, saying suicides are difficiult to deal with. He concurred with concerns about mental health care and the way it’s dealt with.
Law Board Member Dave Lewis sais while a mental health task force was formed some time ago, more needs to be done and solutions need to be found sooner, rather than later.
Rather than ask questions about whether the Riley County Police Director should be elected as had previously been done, representatives from a group known as “Citizens Assuring Transparency” had more questions about the method of selecting law board members during a Monday meeting. Currently City and county commissioners and the county attorney serve on the board. Board Counselor Mike Gillespie addressed the board and large crowd attending about Attorney General findings on the matter, which determined having city and county commissioners serving on the board as having abolutely nothing illegal about it.
Board members Wynn Butler and Dave Lewis commented on reasonings for having commissioners serve, primarily dealing with the budget and accountability. However, Butler said there’s the possibility it may be opened to people in the general public at the beginning of next year,and encouraged people to apply.
The meeting finally adjourned due to lack of a quorom, with three of the law board members leaving during the last hour for prior committments.
Acting Board Chair Dave Lewis told the crowd the board would continue to offer the public the opportunity to be heard, with their frustrations, concerns, and complaints.
And while overshadowed by lengthy presentations and public comments, the Riley County Law Board approved a budget a couple of months early during Monday’s meeting. The 2015 budget amounts to
$18.9 million. And the three hour meeting began with a couple of proclamations, inclulding one for National Correctional Officers’ Week, with Chair John Matta reading and presenting the proclamation. National Police Officers Week was also recognized, with the week of May 11th being the designated week. Friday,May 16th will be the annual Memorial day observance, with a ceremony and barbeque.