MANHATTAN (KSNT) – Local businesses in Aggieville are weighing in on increased safety measures the Riley County Police Department (RCPD) wants to take.

RCPD Director Brian Peete told 27 News this safety initiative comes from community concerns about Aggieville. Police want to use technology to offset police staffing and develop a more strategic approach to keeping people safe.

“There are a lot of people coming through whether it’s for food or drinks, so increased safety is incredibly important,” Sonjay Baker, a manager at ‘The Hi Lo’ said. 

Director Peete said one of the things prompting this initiate is a deadly shooting that happened in Aggieville last fall.

“Unfortunately I have been present both both of the shootings that have happened here in Aggieville over the last around year and a half,” Baker said. “And you can’t do anything when you’re on shift or when you’re walking by, but knowing that someone will be there to protect you, take care of the situation really does go a long way.”

Pete told 27 News he wants to provide as much presence as possible, even when police can’t be there, like adding more security cameras. 

When officers can be present, he plans to use data to back up a coordinated police presence in Aggieville. 

“Just to have the cars parked out, the guys in uniform stepping out there,” Casey Johnson, general manager of ‘Kite’s Bar & Grill’ said. “People seeing that just keeps them a little calmed down.”

Both Johnson and Baker agreed customers would be more at ease in Aggieville with heightened security. According to Baker, not only would visitors be more comfortable, but so would employees. 

“I know there’s some people in and out of Aggieville who don’t feel comfortable staying until bar close,” Baker said. “It’s really a shame how many people need to be walked to their cars because of incidences that have happened over the past few years and that kind of just general unease. So yeah, it would increase a lot of comfort.”

These safety plans haven’t gone into effect yet, but Peete told 27 News they are in the works.