An effort by the Riley County Police Department to accept a Nighttime Seat-belt Enforcement Program Grant from KDOT was shot down by the County’s Law Enforcement Agency Law Board, Monday.
KDOT’s Special Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) awards personnel reimbursement grants to participating local and state law enforcement agencies to increase enforcement efforts directed at compliance with Kansas safety belt, child passenger safety, texting, and impaired driving laws.
“It simply just pays for the overtime to put extra officers out to reinforce alcohol violations as well as specifically seat-belt use,” said Kurt Moldrup, RCPD captain.
Board Chairman, John Matta, had strong feelings about the use of public funds to prevent what he called “imprudent behavior”
“There is something called personal responsibility that people have to exercise for themselves; and to pay over time for that, I don’t think is a wise use of tax dollars.”
Other Law Board members echoed Matta’s sentiment and questioned the ability of the Police Department to effectively enforce the campaign.
“To go out of your way to find them is interesting. I mean is the next thing, you know we a have cell phone ordinance, are we gonna put police officers with binoculars and check cars to be sure we’re not talkin’ on cell phones? That’s probably a bigger hazard than people not driving with a seat-belt. So I tend to agree, I’m not in favor of this,” said Law Board Member, Wynn Butler, “I think the population sees it as not enforcement or awareness. Public harassment is what it’s going to be viewed as.”
Ultimately, Law Board members voted 6-1 against the motion to accept the Nighttime Seat-belt Enforcement Program Grant.
The Law Board did unanimously approve a contract between Swanson Services Corporation and the RCPD to simplify its Inmate Fund activities.
The Inmate fund is an account the police department maintains for every inmate in county jail. The department tracks inmate deposits, medical expenses, commissary and bonding activity. In any given quarter, the department is responsible for as much as $70,000 moving through the account.
After a year of planning and meeting with several companies, Director Schoen said Swanson Services Corporation was the best fit because it utilizes automated kiosks.
“If you’ve got a loved one that happens to be in jail and you want to make a deposit to their inmate account, you can do that directly by putting the money in, in a variety of different means without giving someone at the police department cash.”
The RCPD also made both a retirement announcement and a promotion announcement during Monday’s meeting.
Lt. Michael Quintanar will step away after over 30 years with the Riley County Police Department.
Officer Erin Freidline joined the department in 2000. She currently supervises the day shift in the patrol division; however, she will be assigned as the commander of the 3rd watch in the patrol division upon her promotion.