Local talking points

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Private gifts to universities growing

As state support for higher education shrinks, private donations are on the rise according to the Kansas City Star. The University of Missouri-Kansas City, University of Missouri, University of Kansas and K-State have all had a record-breaking year in donations accepted.

Fred Cholick, president and chief executive officer of the K-State Foundation, told Kansas City Star that universities are relying more on philanthropic dollars than before. In the past, with more state support, these donations would have just been “icing on the cake” according to Cholick. Now, they are a major part of universities’ budgets.

A major contributor to the rise in donations is the improved economy, according to Dale Seuferling, president of the KU Endowment. In the last 20 years, donations to higher education rose until the 2007-08 fiscal year, when the trend took a sudden drop due to the recession. Since 2011, giving to higher education has made a comeback.

K-State received the largest donation in the school’s history from the Jack Vanier family of $60 million in the past fiscal year. Two-thirds of the donation are going to students, faculty and facilities while the rest will be for athletics and the Bill Snyder Family Stadium master plan, according to the Kansas City Star.

Riley County, K-State Police implementing body-worn cameras

In early November, the Riley County and the K-State police departments will use body-worn cameras for their officers. Capt. Tim Hegarty of the RCPD told the Topeka Capital-Journal that the cameras are not a response to any specific incident. Hegarty said he believes that the use of the cameras will help the public trust the police department more and make officers more aware of their interactions with the public.

The RCPD began testing TASER International cameras earlier this summer and were pleased with the results. The 11 cameras, totaling $43,000 to be paid over five years, were bought after the successful field test.

K-State Police is implementing the cameras along with the RCPD, but is using a different program that more so fits the department’s needs. Campus police already have five cameras they are testing.

Hegarty said the RCPD will not be recording every citizen-officer interaction, but will use the cameras whenever there might be a complaint or if there is a crime occurring.

Riley County initiates online crime reporting

A year after the launch of the RCPD website, its online crime reporting service is operational. According to rileycountypolice.org, online crime reporting will be easier on both the public and officers, and will focus on crimes such as property damage under $1,000, theft under $1,000, identity theft and more. Anything involving a weapon, evidence, suspects, injury or emergencies will still have an officer on scene and will not be reported online.

People can report crimes from their phone, though they must have an email address and Internet access to use this service.

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