Riley County Law Board at its Monday, Sept. 21 meeting. (Screenshot)

Rather than waiting until January to purchase vehicles for its fleet, the Riley County Law Board is allowing RCPD to do so now to ensure they can fulfill their request.

The Law Board gave the police department early permission to use funds from its 2021 budget to purchase seven 2021 Dodge Durango SUVs totaling about $292,000. RCPD Director Dennis Butler says they had to submit a request now, due to the manufacturer shutting down production for an extended period this year.

“It delayed just everything and so the guidance we received from them was that if we wanted to receive vehicles in a timely manner for next year, we need to order them now,” he said.

RCPD has $270,000 in its account for vehicles and equipment, meaning this purchase leaves a negative of just over $22,000. Kyle says their purchase price still comes in below the five year average for actual expenditures.

“Our five year average has been about $378,000, so we estimate the under-funding associated with this account is somewhere in the neighborhood of $100,000,” he said.

The contract price for each of the seven vehicles is just over $33,000, with $8,000 per vehicle to equip them with police technology.

In addition to the vehicle purchases, Capt. Kyle also presented on COVID-19 related funding, grants and awards.

RCPD is receiving close to $351,000 in funds related to COVID-19 expenditures.

The funding, presented to the Law Board Monday comes from two sources. Capt. Kyle says the first was an emergency grant from the Department of Justice totaling just over $62,000 for equipment and supplies.

“A lot of it is cleaning supplies and cleaning equipment, which were very hard to get early on, but fortunately the supply chain has opened up and we’ve been able to receive most of those items,” he said.

The department has until the end of 2021 to expend those grant funds. So far 85 percent of available funds have been consumed.

RCPD also received $288,000 in CARES Act funds, though Kyle said initially they had sought close to $612,000 in part to fund a mobile hazardous material response team incident response vehicle.

“Because the funds would have been used throughout an extended period, that didn’t comport with the guidelines so we had to remove it from consideration,” he said.

Doing so would’ve incurred a roughly $323,000 cost. RCPD’s original request for CARES Act funds had been for over $612,000 to accommodate that large of a purchase.

So far 50 percent of the CARES Act funds have been consumed including $232,000 for payroll costs, communication equipment and supplies, facility retrofits to accommodate social distancing, signage as well as disinfection supplies and PPE.

In other business Wednesday, the Law Board approved a GAAP waiver after receiving a positive report for the 2019 audit from James Gordon & Associates CPA, P.A.

RCPD introduced Aaron Wintermote as its new public information officer Monday.

Wintermote will take over those duties in a few weeks. He introduced himself to the Law Board Monday.

“I graduated from K-State in December and worked in their public relations department for athletics for two years and was down in Oklahoma City working for USA Softball from January to July. I’m ready to get started, jump in and excited to be here,” he said.

Wintermote replaces Hali Rowland who relocated with her husband, a U.S. Army soldier, out of state in June. RCPD Officer Rachel Pate is handling PIO duties on an interim basis.

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