Riley County’s Fair and Impartial Policing Working Group works to address policing concerns

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MANHATTAN (KSNT) – On Monday, the Fair and Impartial Policing (FIP) Working Group presented their findings to the Riley County Law Board on community policing recommendations. The FIP was created in conjunction with the Manhattan-Riley County Coalition for Equal Justice (CEJ).

“We as a community look at this not as a combative stance but in a collaborative sense. And one of the first things we want to do is build a relationship with RCPD,” said CEJ representative Dr. Lorenza Lockett.

In a report released to the public, the group detailed items like working to recruit more diverse staff to RCPD, continuing to advance department policies that prohibit biased policing and continuing to perform community outreach.

The collaboration between CEJ and RCPD is something RCPD Director Dennis Butler welcomes.

“Working with the coalition for equal justice has really been a positive experience for me and members of my staff,” Butler said. “The fact that you have a group of people who have concerns about how policing is conducted in general and want to make sure that we are aligned with those goals of conducting fair and impartial policing I think is wholly appropriate.”

The creation of such a working group is something most communities do after an incident occurs, like the murder of George Floyd in 2020, but RCPD worked to create the FIP as a proactive step.

“It is very unusual to have a police department that voluntarily agrees to meet with those concerned about social justice for making recommendations,” said RCPD captain Josh Kyle. “Normally what happens is a police department has something unfortunate happen and then they are reactively going ahead and meeting with community groups. This time we did it on our own initiative. We did it because we felt it is the right thing to do.”

The entire report from FIP can be found on RCPD’s website here.

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