Noise ordinance, police training discussed at law board meeting


Amid a week of violence against police officers, Riley County Police Department Director Brad Schoen said his department has received a lot of support from the local community.

“There have been a lot of people just bringing stuff by the police department,” Schoen said. “They apparently know we like baked goods.”

Schoen said that although law enforcement has had to deal with a difficult time, he was thankful for the community’s response.

“I’ve gotten some cards and letters,” Schoen said. “A lady stopped me Sunday and gave me a bunch of posters that kids had made at church because they know what’s been going on.”

Manhattan City Mayor Usha Reddi expressed her thanks to RCPD and their training during the meeting.

“Manhattan is fortunate that we don’t see crime right in front of us because it is handled so well,” Reddi said. “Sometimes we take for granted what’s right in front of us.”

The topic of disorderly and loud noises came up at the meeting as well. City Commissioner Carol McCulloh said that she has personally experienced disorderly houses near her home.

“I can walk you around my neighborhood and you can tell by their front lawns, all the old kegs that are sitting there,” McCulloh said.

McCulloh said that she hears complaints from residents that loud music is consistently played at the same houses.

“One thing that the older neighborhoods repeatedly tell me is that the police come by, the (residents) are told to be quiet, and they don’t write a ticket.” McCulloh said. “I can truly see that, but there are a few houses that I’m sure the cops know well and it would be, I think, very helpful if you would write a ticket for those places.”

McCulloh said that the city commission is currently looking at drafting a new city noise ordinance to address the issue. The city’s current ordinance is found under a list of general nuisances.

Josh Kyle, RCPD patrol division captain, said that meetings are held every two weeks where certain addresses are noted for loud noises.

“One of the things that happens is addresses which generate a lot of calls, whether or not a citation is written, are included on that list,” Kyle said. “So it tends to be (that) whoever works the midnight shift receives a report on addresses.”

Kyle said the addresses are then followed up on two weeks later. Over an 18 month period, Kyle said they have not had any repeat incidents.

Greg Steere and Tim Schuck, RCPD lieutenants, discussed the police department’s use of force procedures, noting that in 2015 there were about 57,000 calls for service, 75 of which resulted in use of force incidents.

Steere said that officers are trained in de-escalation skills and avoid using force whenever possible.

“We’re giving scenarios where they (police) are able to talk their way out and not use force at all,” Steere said.

Schuck said that successful police training involves more than just use of force procedures.

“It has great benefit for teaching those critical thinking skills, teaching how to solve problems,” Schuck said. “You can not get through it without successfully engaging in the community.”

Steere said that community engagement is an important part of the training.

“There will be other problems during their recruit phase,” Steere said. “And if they don’t work with the community during these problems, then they won’t be successful.”