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Sen. Moran Announces $2.1M in Congressional Funding for McPherson College and $275K for McPherson Police Department

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By Brenna Eller

 

McPHERSON, Kan. — U.S. Senator Jerry Moran made two big announcements to the McPherson community today. He has secured $2.1 million in new, congressionally directed funding for McPherson College and $275,000 for the McPherson Police Department.

Senator Moran shared that on Republican days he is Chair for U.S. Department of Justice, and Democratic majority of days he’s the lead Republican on that committee.

“When I was the Chairman, this idea of defund the police took root across the country in many places,” Sen. Moran said.

His ranking member at the time agreed with him that they didn’t think that the answer to the problem was to defund the police for the community’s safety, but rather to provide the law enforcement with equipment and resources to better protect themselves and their community. 

Over the last three years, Senator Moran said that he has provided a little more than $29 million in additional dollars to county sheriff departments and local police departments, that was otherwise probably not going to be found within the city’s budget or county commission decision.

For the Fiscal Year 2024 Appropriation Bill that was passed, signed into law, and is being implemented, Senator Moran announced $275,000 to acquire additional technology, technology upgrades and to provide the police department with a command trailer.

“We’re pleased to try to be helpful to your community and its safety and security and we’re pleased to be here with Chief Golden as he leads the team and try to make sure that he and his officers are also safe,” Sen. Moran added. 

McPherson Police Chief Mikel Golden gave more information about what the funding will allow the police department to purchase such as the main components in creating a real time crime center, by placing 43 cameras strategically around the city, which will be tied to 144 terabytes in one location for review. Chief Golden shared that it will probably be the new substation as well. 

“These cameras are being purchased from Jetstream systems incorporated out of Augusta, KS and will help us to identify criminals in their vehicles,” Chief Golden said. “This increases case solvability by helping to recover stolen items and bringing criminals to justice by providing video evidence and identifying trends within the criminal element in our community. Also, those who visit our community. We will also be able to locate missing or endangered persons, human trafficking victims and suspects, and illegal drug dealers who come to McPherson who poison our loved ones. Right now, we are in an epidemic with fentanyl, and this is going to help our fight against that.”

Funding will also be used for the utilization of a custom-built command trailer (built by Jet Stream Systems) in major events including major police incidents, SWAT operations, crime scene investigations, crisis negotiations, UAS drone operations and natural or man-made disasters within the community and the 19 counties that join McPherson as a part of the Homeland security south central Kansas region. 

“This $275,000 is a big step forward for the McPherson Police Department and the citizens of McPherson,” Chief Golden said. “Thank you, Senator Moran, for your leadership, your support of the police department, and for the true friendships you have built over the years with the citizens of McPherson Kansas and thank you for your support of our troops and your Kansas police officers.”

Three McPherson College students are reserve police officers according to Chief Golden. They would like to continue offering the program and encourage students to enroll. For all students and citizens, ride alongs are always available as well.

“The McPherson Police Department has a really special place on this campus,” President of McPherson College Michael Schneider said. “We’re really proud to have a close and cooperative relationship.” 

After the first announcement, Senator Moran announced the $2.1 million congressional fund for McPherson College, in support for the college’s goal to create an educational center for Rural and Community Health Science. 

“A lot of what I’m about is trying to make sure rural America/rural Kansas has an advocate/a voice. I come from a much smaller town than yours and I want my hometown just as you want your hometown to be around for a long time to come,” Sen. Moran said. “So, we look for ways to try to support and in my world that means doing everything we can to see that agriculture, farmers and ranchers have success.”

Senator Moran said that on that top list of four or five focuses and goals is to make sure that the healthcare delivery system remains solid and intact in places across Kansas.

Senator Jerry Moran speaking with McPherson College President Michael Schneider outside of the new campus commons, coming in less than a year (Photos by Brenna Eller)

“Current time, that is a huge, significant challenge,” Sen. Moran said, “I used to be able to say for our smallest communities and for our smallest hospitals, but it’s expanded beyond that, in which communities your size and larger struggle regarding being able to provide healthcare to their communities, and in particular the inability to have necessary services related to mental health.” 

Senator Moran added that mental health/healthcare is a huge challenge across Kansas and that you can tie together law enforcement and mental health services.

President Schneider presented a proposal to Senator Moran that he wanted to utilize funding, to provide greater opportunities to students, and had a goal in mind that Kansans wherever they live (large or small) and particularly rural communities around McPherson have access to necessary professionals. 

“There are lots of challenges in the delivery of healthcare,” Sen. Moran said. “At the top of the list, hospital administrators, public health department, or anyone in mental health services, the problem they would say is they can’t find enough people highly qualified or trained who want to work. McPherson College is taking on the effort to educate and train healthcare professionals in the state.”

President Schneider shared that this is the first time in its 137-year history that McPherson College has secured federal funds through congressionally directed spending. “That’s an amazing day for us,” he said. “I think it sends a signal to our donors, to our faculty, our staff, our students, to our local community, that we’re moving in the right direction.”

The plan for the college is to use the funding to train Kansans in clinical behavioral administrative and public health to meet local community healthcare needs.

“As you know, many rural Kansans have to drive a long way to get medical care, and some of them aren’t able to make that drive,” He added, “This grant is the start of taking better care of our Kansans in those smaller communities and it places McPherson College at the forefront of that effort.”

IMG_3109The college has made progress toward their goal by introducing a new health science program where students focus on clinical, administrative, behavioral, or community health academic emphasis. In 2019, it partnered with the McPherson Center for Health to provide experiential learning opportunities for students. The college has also partnered with the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Salina. 

Funds will be used to modernize key parts of Melhorn Science Hall, which includes laboratory and technology upgrades for anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, public health, and behavioral studies. 

Some of the funding will also be used for professional development to help meet new and ongoing rural healthcare needs and expanding statewide health outreach programming. 

At the end of the news conference, President Schneider invited Senator Moran and guests to the new Campus Commons building site, just outside of Mingenback Theatre.

“We will be moving into the campus common in under a year,” Schneider said. “It’s got a really cool Prairie style design, lots of glass, and there’s a great view of the Flint Hills from the third floor.” 

President Schneider added that there will be classic cars hanging from the 3-story atrium.

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