TOPEKA (KSNT) — For the first time since starting the position of director of the Riley County Police Department, Brian Peete spoke up as he joined the 27 News Morning team for an interview.
Prior to accepting the position, Peete served as Chief of Police in Montpelier, VT. Prior to that, he served as Chief of the Alamogordo Police Department in New Mexico. He began his career in Chicago, where he started out as a police officer.
Peete discussed how his first month with the RCPD has been a good one so far. She said the reception from the community and the department to him and her family was warm and inviting.
“The department is full of very professional people who take their jobs very seriously,” he said.
The department also recently released crime statistics for 2022. According to that report, 2021 marks the 19th year that Riley County has fallen below the state average in the total crime rate. The RCPD is confident that after seeing their 2022 numbers, it will soon be their 20th consecutive year below that state average.
That said, there’s not much Peete wants to change about the department heading into the position and the new year. Looking ahead, he said he wants to look into streamlining their processes, as well as incorporating different types of technology to help with staffing shortages.
Additionally, Peete had a few words to say to the Manhattan community regarding the events leading up to Tire Nichols’ death. In a letter to the community, Peete writes,
“It is absolutely clear that the officers involved did not use adequate training during the arrest of Mr. Nichols. More importantly, they failed to recognize Mr. Nichols as a human being undeserving of the many terrorist attacks they imposed upon him – Mr. Nichols did not deserve to be subjected to those attacks.”
He went on to acknowledge he doesn’t know everything about the situation, but said there are two strong indicators he knows are warning signs of events like the one seen in Memphis. He said it is related to the level of training of police officers as well as the culture of a department.
“In many situations, when there are so many officers there, the first priority is to get that person under control,” he said. “And keeping that person under control usually involves handcuffs. Once the handcuffs arrive and the potential threat is contained then all else stops and you should start moving towards any subsequent arrest procedure.
Emphasize that the more time it takes you or your colleagues to gain control of a potential subject, the greater the risk that someone involved in the situation will get hurt.
For more on what you read in this article, watch the interview above.