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Questions for Police Chief

1. How many officers wear body cameras?

All officers of the Riley County Police Department below the rank of Captain, who are assigned to uniformed operational roles, wear body cameras. Policy states officers are to record all traffic stops, field arrests, pursuits, and encounters with hostile citizens. Officers also have to record situations that have the reasonable possibility of leading to an arrest or a notice to appear in court. Field interviews of victims concerning sensitive matters such as sexual assaults i.e. minimalistic interviews for the purpose of establishing the basis for further investigation and the gathering of basic information in the field, are recorded as well. Officers may also record situations when they believe a video or audio recording of the event would serve the bests interests of the community or the department.

Officers do not routinely record all citizen encounters. Recordings are not made of individuals in areas that are in use for private matters such as restrooms or locker rooms. With regard to medical care facilities, officers are to use discretion when interviewing individuals receiving treatment to prevent embarrassment and/or violation of privacy.

a. If not all, why not?

The ranking system in the Patrol Division is listed below:

  1. a. Officer
  2. b. Corporal
  3. c. Sergeant
  4. d. Lieutenant
  5. e. Captain
  6. f. Assistant Director
  7. g. Director


Captain and above to the Director typically work in office settings and are not routinely in the field on police matters that would require the use of body cameras.

2. Do Riley County officers go through de-escalation trainings, and how often?

RCPD officers are first introduced to de-escalation training after the police academy at the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center. When they return they attend a basic use of force class where the elements of de-escalation as they pertain to the use of force are discussed. The new officer then practices scenarios where they have to successfully de-escalate a violent subject. Then, annually this type of training is repeated in a number of formats. Currently RCPD has three (3) verbal de-escalation instructors who train officers on de-escalation during our annual Taser re-certification, annually during defensive tactics, and annually during our reality based-training. Officers will receive de-escalation training in various forms multiple times a year.

All employees, not just the police officers at RCPD, receive annual training in avoiding racial or any other biases regarding protected classes. Interestingly, the State of Kansas list the following as protected classes from police bias: race, ethnicity, national origin, gender and religion; however, the RCPD has added the following classes as also protected: sexual orientation/identity, socio-economic status and perceived disability and/or age. When training about racial biases, we train about not being biased to all of these protected classes. Annually we hold a 2-4-hour training in some format pertaining to both implicit and explicit biases, and how our actions as a policing agency can negatively and positively affect others. Currently we have three (3) instructors who are certified to teach the Fair and Impartial Policing curriculum which was taught for the training year 2018. Last year we discussed cultural awareness, and how culture leads us to view others differently. In the 2020 training year we are training Fair and Impartial Policing again, keeping these ideas and philosophies ever present in our employees' minds.

Police interaction with people within our community suffering a mental health crisis is a daily occurrence. To better serve those people the RCPD has taken the “One Mind Pledge” and has met and exceeded the pledge standards. The One Mind Campaign seeks to ensure successful interactions between police officers and persons affected by mental illness. The initiative focuses on uniting local communities, public safety organizations, and mental health organizations so that the three become "of one mind." To join the campaign, law enforcement agencies must pledge to implement four promising practices over a 12-36-month time frame. These practices include: establishing a clearly defined and sustainable partnership with a community mental health organization, developing a model policy to implement police response to persons affected by mental illness, training and certifying sworn officers and selected non-sworn staff in mental health first aid training or other equivalent mental health awareness course, and providing crisis intervention team training.

To date the Riley County Police Department has:

  1. • Maintained at least one active member on the Riley County Mental Health Task Force
  2. • Maintains Policy 41.2.7 – Response to Mental Health Situations
  3. • Department members trained to teach Mental Health First Aid
  4. • Inserted Mental Health First Aid into the Departments annual training program for police officers, correction officers and dispatchers.
  5. • Sent nearly 30% of our patrol officers to Crises Intervention Team training
  6. • Established a Crises Intervention Team Council that has partnered with the Mental Health Task Force
  7. • Established a Patrol Division Goal to decrease the incarceration of those on mental health crises by developing alternatives to arrest.
  8. • A strong partnership with Pawnee Mental Health
  9. • Employs two full time mental health professionals as police co-responders
  10. • Established a 13-member Peer Support Team represented by all the divisions within the Department to help insure we are meeting our own mental health needs
  11. • A robust Employee Assistance Program


As mentioned above the RCPD has established a Crises Interventions Team Council, the regional council includes several mental health providers and professionals as well as representatives from numerous first responder agencies from Manhattan, Riley County, Kansas State university and Pottawatomie County. The RCPD is working toward training as many of our officers as possible in crises intervention through the nationally recognized 40-hour CIT training program. Currently the Departments has about 30% of this goal with our police and corrections officers. We did have a 40-hour CIT training class scheduled earlier this year but it had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We do plan to reschedule this training as soon as the pandemic threat passes.

We mention the One Mind Pledge and CIT in response to your question about de-escalation because the skills learned and the policies and procedures followed focus almost entirely upon de-escalation of any situation. De-escalation techniques are used by our officers prior to, during and after force of any kind is applied and, in many situations, prevents the need any physical force. All of our officers are required to complete Mental Health First aid and they work daily with our Mental Health Co-responders. Again, through these resources officers are practice and experience the power of communication to mitigate physical, bizarre and often violent behavior with little or no force necessary.

3. What are Riley County’s guidelines for using lethal force?

The Riley County Police Department uses a force model to help guide officers when deciding what level of force is reasonable in response to a subject’s resistance and perceived threat level.

A. When an officer reasonably believes that a subject presents no threat to himself or others, the officer will respond with force unlikely to cause injury.

B. When an officer reasonably believes that a subject presents a threat to himself or others likely to cause minor physical injury, the officer may respond to resistance with force likely to cause minor physical injury.

C. When an officer reasonably believes that a subject presents an imminent threat to himself or others likely to cause death or serious bodily harm, the officer may respond with force that could cause death or serious bodily harm

4. How many hours of “stress training” does Riley County officers go through

On an annual basis, police officers are required to participate in training scenarios that replicate high-stress situations (approximately 8-10 hours a year). These situations include, but are not limited to:

  1. • Active Violence/Active Shooter
  2. • Armed Subjects
  3. • Resistive Subjects
  4. • Subject’s displaying signs of a Mental Illness
  5. • Sudden Attack
  6. • Resistive Subjects who become compliant
  7. • Subject’s barricaded inside a residence


The majority of the training consists of classroom instruction followed by officer scenarios. These scenarios are designed to be realistic and activate a physiological and psychological response in the officer. It is common for officers to experience an elevated heart and respiratory rate during the scenarios. By placing officers in these scenarios, we allow them to experience and understand how stressful situations will affect them so they will not be overwhelmed when dealing with a real-life event.

5. How long do police recruits ride along with a veteran officer before they are sent out on their own?

A police recruit begins their training by attending a 14-week basic police academy at the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center. After the recruit has successfully graduated from the academy, the recruit begins our agency’s Police Training Officer (PTO) program.

The PTO program is 18-weeks long and focuses on Problem-Based Learning (PBL). The PBL process provides recruits with the skills to solve future problems they will encounter as a police officer. The PTO program consists of two phases (Basic and Advanced). During each phase, the recruit is trained by a RCPD certified police training officer. Throughout the process, the recruit is evaluated by multiple training officers and must successfully complete the program prior to being released to solo patrol.

6. Are there any outreach programs for the Riley County police to connect with the citizens of Manhattan to bring about unity?

The Riley County Police Department has several outreach programs to connect with the citizens of Manhattan to bring about unity. RCPD employees represent the department by attending various committee meetings and serving on boards throughout the community. The list below is not all inclusive but serve as some examples of community outreach programs.

RCPD Community Advisory Board: The CAB represents a cross-section of the Riley County public with members from a variety of business, geographical, and cultural communities. Members are representative of the broad community we live in to be consistent with the diversity in Riley County. The members of the CAB nominate candidates to serve on the board, who are then appointed by the Director of RCPD.

The Community Advisory Board advises RCPD on community concerns and relays information about the RCPD to the public. Effective policing relies on positive relationships with the community we serve. The CAB was established to provide a community perspective to the police department when considering local problems and policies. The group assists in improving the community's understanding of police functions and roles. The CAB advises RCPD on ways to improve the effectiveness of police operations in relation to community needs.

The Community Advisory Board meets monthly to address issues of interest to the RCPD and how they may affect the people of Riley County.

You can learn more about the CAB here.

Chairman Lewis Smith
[email protected]

Director Dennis Butler (Ex Officio Member)
(785) 537-2112 x2468
[email protected]

LGBTQ+ Liaisons: In 2019, Director Butler formed the LGBTQ+ liaison team. The Riley County Police Department has two officers representing the department as LGBTQ+ liaisons. The liaisons act as a bridge between the police and the community, promoting a positive relationship with people in Riley County while advocating for equality. The LGBTQ+ liaisons are dedicated to increasing public education on hate crimes and public safety.

Lieutenant Lucas Breault
(785) 537-2112 x2439
[email protected]

Officer Rachel Pate
(785) 537-2112 x2486
[email protected]

Douglass Center Advisory Board: The Douglass Center Advisory Board makes recommendations to the City Commission regarding the operation of the Douglass Community Center and involvement in community events. Director Butler routinely attends their monthly meetings.

Douglass Center Advisory Board RCPD Liaison
Officer Ryan Doehling
[email protected]

Boys & Girls Club of Manhattan: RCPD partners to bring educational presentations and participate in speaking engagements with the Boys & Girls Club of Manhattan. Children are most at risk of participating in and being victims of crime right after school lets out. B&G Club provides a safe and productive place for kids to go during the times when they are most vulnerable.

Captain Joshua Kyle
(785) 537-2112 x2407
[email protected]

RCPD Community Outreach BBQ: The Riley County Police Department has made it a priority to get out into the community and be a part of events because together, we are a stronger, safer community. To further a culture of service throughout the organization, the department purchased a barbecue grill/smoker through donated funds, seized assets, and unused end-of-year personnel funds. The goal is to serve food to the community during events and actively participate with the community.

Coffee with a Cop: This is a causal meet-and-greet for members of the Riley County community to provide positive and fun interactions with police. We are hopeful that the program will help reach the section of the community that does not use social media or the internet. These are public meetings held over coffee throughout Manhattan and Riley County. Members of the community with suggestions on where to host future meetings are encouraged to contact the department’s Public Information Officer.

Public Information Officer Hali Rowland
(785) 537-2112 x2449
[email protected]

Nextdoor: Nextdoor.com is a free, private social network program where residents work together with the Riley County Police Department and their neighbors for a safer community. The program allows neighbors to talk online, obtain information about crimes in the area, locate missing animals, etc. The Riley County Police Department has partnered with Nextdoor.com to launch a program in the area not only to confront and resolve safety issues within the neighborhood, but also to help bring neighbors together. Other emergency and local government organizations such as the Manhattan Fire Department, Riley County EMS, Riley County Emergency Management, and the City of Manhattan have partnered with RCPD and Nextdoor.com.

The Riley County Police Department uses social media in an effort to keep people informed and educated on local and state laws, current events, and emergency notifications. We encourage our community to engage in meaningful, respectful conversation with us and fellow citizens. We believe social media helps to improve the quality of life by creating a direct method of communication with your police. To create a social environment that is welcoming to all people, as part of our social media policy, all posts or comments containing offensive or perceived to be offensive language will not be allowed.





7. Does the Riley County police have plans for a community town hall?

Director Butler regularly attends meetings open to the public of all County governing bodies which include, the cities of Randolph, Riley, Leonardville, Ogden, Manhattan and Riley County. At these meetings, he shares information with those in attendance regarding RCPD operations, answers questions, and fields suggestions. Often these meetings are attended by other operational personnel for the same purpose. As mentioned below, Director Butler and others address other groups upon request to address topics of interest/concern. Early in 2019, Director Butler and other staff attended Listening to Local Voices Community Conversations on Race and Reconciliation with plans to attend another in September. Director Butler will attend a separate virtual forum prior to that scheduled for June 12, 2020.

8. Are we able to set up events to have Riley County officers and civilians meet one another for communities they serve?

The Riley County Police Department regularly participates in speaking engagements throughout the year. Members of the community who wish to schedule an officer to speak at an event, training, convention, or other gathering are asked to complete a Speaking Engagement and Appearance Request Form which can be found on the Riley County Police Department website. Advance notice is requested to ensure staff is available for the event.

Please note in an effort to keep our staff and the public safe due to COVID-19, speaking engagements have been temporarily suspended until further notice; however, the department understands that this is an important time to remain connected to the community. Therefore, Director Dennis Butler and members of Command Staff have made themselves available for particular requests, schedule permitting.

9. Do Riley County officers have the opportunity go to counseling?

The Riley County Police Department offers employee wellness programs designed to help employees improve their overall physical and mental health. Among them are the internal Peer Support Program and vendor provided Employee Assistance Program.

We recognize that employees are the most valuable assets to RCPD and have a direct impact on the success of the agency. The Department is dedicated to having a successful workplace and strives to increase the well-being and productivity of all employees, through the enhancement of all aspects of health.

Peer Support Program: The Riley County Police Department’s Peer Support Program is designed to provide confidential emotional support during and after times of personal or professional crisis to employees and their family members who express a need for assistance. The program promotes trust, allows for anonymity and preserves confidentiality for all members utilizing the program.

The Peer Support Program participates in the Riley County Police Department’s comprehensive response to an officer involved shooting, critical incidents, or any other potentially traumatic event.

Peer Support Team Members are required to attend a 40-hour training specific to Peer Support Groups/Programs. They provide emotional support and guidance but do not replace counselors, therapists, or psychologists nor do they replace outreach programs that are available to the department and its employees.

The program is comprised of one program manager, one peer support clinician, and team members consist of a maximum of 10% of the employee population (presently 12 members). Membership is composed of sworn and non-sworn personnel who are officially designated by the Director after a structured selection process.

Employee Assistance Program: The Riley County Police Department offers an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to all employees and their family members. The program is designed to assist in identifying and resolving a variety of concerns or issues that may adversely affect an employee’s personal or professional well-being or job performance or to simply provide resources to improve an employee’s quality of life. The resource topics offered by the program include wellness, relationships, work and education, financial, legal, lifestyle, and home and auto.

In addition to the above-mentioned programs, the department provides critical incident debriefs to employees following a traumatic event, death or abuse of a child, disfigurement injuries, officer involved shooting, etc.

RCPD Department Chaplin: The Riley County Police Department Chaplain Program is comprised of professional clergy members who volunteer their services to the department, incarcerated individuals, and members of the community during times of crisis or conflict. Police Chaplains are on-call 24 hours a day to assist police officers with a variety of situations in the field such as death notifications, lost or missing persons, and suicides. With respect to death notifications, the chaplain may stay behind to speak with the family regarding the tragedy and provide resources to help them with funeral arrangements. Police Chaplains may also be requested to assist with crisis intervention, and respond to major incidents/disasters such as multiple injury vehicle accidents and officer involved shootings. They provide support to RCPD personnel following such incidents or difficult calls. The Chaplains are familiar faces which employees feel they can easily confide.

Lewis Smith is the primary Chaplain for the RCPD and oversees the program. He and fellow Police Chaplains provide support to employees of RCPD, their families, and those incarcerated.

10. Who polices the police in Riley County?

The Riley County Police Department recognizes its responsibility to both itself and the public to thoroughly investigate all complaints of misconduct brought against its member. To accomplish this task the department has implemented an internal investigation procedure that provides for a diligent, systematic inquiry of complaints received.

It is critically important to note that RCPD personnel consistently initiate complaints against their own personnel at rate 50-75% higher that citizens’ complaints. This means that when we are aware of poor performance we want to correct it before it worsens and affects service to our community. The results are reported quarterly to the Law Board during public meetings and the annual report is posted on the Department’s website.

The Riley County Police Department has proactively provided this information for several years dating back to 2012. When evidence of criminal conduct is found, it is referred to others law enforcement agencies for investigation.

It is by the internal affair process that complaints are investigated to determine if policy violations occurred. If so, corrective measures are used to ensure quality law enforcement and preserve the community’s confidence in the department. The Riley County Police Department explicitly prohibits any form of biased-based behavior by any of its employees.

If citizens are dissatisfied with the results of a biased-based policing internal investigation they have the option the option of filing a complaint with the Kansas Attorney General’s Office. You can find more information here. Also, the Attorney General’s Office publishes statistics on the number of biased-based or racial profiling complaints made with every Kansas law enforcement agency. Each agency is required by law to submit this information annually.

The Department's Internal Affairs Office investigates citizen complaints regarding police department personnel or policies. A positive relationship between the police and the public they serve, fostered by confidence and trust is essential to effective law enforcement.

The Riley County Police Department welcomes criticism of the department and valid complaints against its members or procedures. The purpose of the Internal Affairs function is to ensure complete, fair, and impartial investigations of citizen complaints.

To see how the process works, click here.

The Riley County Police Department was formed in 1974. The founding statutes contained provisions that provide for oversight of RCPD by the Riley County Law Enforcement Agency – what is commonly referred to as the “Law Board.” The Law Board is comprised of seven individuals who represent various constituencies in Riley County.

The Law Board is responsible for the enforcement of law and the providing of police protection and is authorized (in part) to: Appoint and establish the salary and compensation of the Director; Authorize and provide for the appointment of all other personnel; Hear and affirm or revoke the suspension or dismissal of law enforcement officers; Establish salaries for personnel; Authorize the acquisition of equipment and supplies necessary to operate the department; Adopt an annual budget and certify same to the Riley County Board of County Commissioners; Enter into contracts; Adopt rules and regulations necessary for the operation of the Department; and perform other duties as provided by law.

The Law Board typically meets at noon in the Manhattan’s City Commission meeting room at 11th and Poyntz on the third Monday of each month, except when that Monday is a legal holiday. In those instances, the meeting is generally held on the following day at noon. Special meetings are also occasionally scheduled and advertised well in advance to address non-routine issues. All members of the public are invited to attend and an opportunity for public comment is scheduled during each meeting. Accommodations are available for individuals with disabilities.

Law Board meetings are live streamed on our Facebook page here.

Current Law Board Members: Craig Beardsley, Wynn Butler, Linda Morse, Marvin Rodriguez, BeEtta Stoney, Robert Ward, and Barry Wilkerson.

11. What steps are being taken to recruit and retain more Black and Hispanic police officers?

The RCPD is committed to enhancing diversity within the police ranks. This diversity includes not only Black and Hispanic applicants, but also women and other minorities.

If citizens believe in us, we need people in our community to advocate for the police department and join us. We want diversity, we need diversity, we welcome diversity, and we believe diversity will make us an even better department.

We are lucky to have a multicultural community thanks to Fort Riley and Kansas State University. The Riley County Police Department is in the process of building relationships at K-State and Fort Riley with the hopes of giving talks at groups/classes and participating in specialty events. Police, Corrections, and Dispatch attend recruiting events in Manhattan, at K-State, and Fort Riley. We have recently extended our recruiting presence to colleges in Western Kansas in an attempt to recruit and retain Hispanic applicants in an effort to further diversify our department to represent the community we serve.

The Riley County Police Department has recently acquired a food trailer to take to recruiting and community events as a way of making connections with people. The department is in the process of creating a recruiting team which will complement and operate independently of the food trailer depending on the event.

We are aware of the lack of diversity in our patrol division, and are examining our hiring process and what can be done to improve our hiring results.

12. When an investigation is completed, how does a person get a copy of the police report?

Incident reports are requested and obtained by contacting the Riley County Police Department Records section. You can do this in person, by mail, by phone, or by completing an online request through our website, here. Please contact Records during business hours with any questions you have regarding the process. The requester must know the approximate date and time or specific incident details to request a copy. Once Records confirms the incident, they will advise how much the records will cost (this all depends on the report size and details), obtain payment (cash, check, or money order), and supply the individual with a redacted copy of the report via in person, email, or fax. To learn more, you can find an informational brochure here.

The Riley County Police Department believes transparency creates trust between our department and the community. We are dedicated to accurate, timely release of information through our Public Information Officer. Each week day, the PIO publishes a Police Activity Report which is a summary of calls for service/ reports filed from the previous 24 hours.

The PIO routinely speaks to members of the public and local media partners about items listed in the Police Activity Report to give additional information as it may be available through the Kansas Open Records Act (KORA). The report is readily available to the public when it is published on the RCPD website and social pages.

13. Is the report available to the person immediately once the report is completed and filed?

Once the report is complete by the officer(s), it must be approved by a supervisor and then submitted to Records. Depending on the incident filed and status of the report, Records can supply an individual with basic report details (information that is open to the public) within 1-2 days. Any report or record is subject to KORA; however, certain information within it may remain closed either by statute or at the discretion of the agency.