National Police Foundation
Rural law enforcement agencies represent a significant majority of the nation’s law enforcement, both in terms of number and geographical coverage. These agencies face many of the same public safety and crime challenges as their colleagues in larger, urban and suburban jurisdictions. At the same time, they face a number of challenges that are unique to rural areas. Despite these challenges, in the past, rural law enforcement leaders have often been left out of conversations regarding their challenges and how the federal government can help address their needs. This publication summarizes the key topics, areas of focus, and needs raised by rural law enforcement leaders in South Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah, Iowa, and Montana. Insufficient funding was an overarching topic discussed in all the conversations and is a self-reinforcing problem. Key topics and areas of focus include: staffing and personnel, jail overcrowding, technology and equipment, and federal funding and resources. Acute challenges include: illicit drugs, trafficking from the southern border, addressing substance use and mental health populations, and inter-agency relationships.
National Police Foundation. (2020). Conversations with rural law enforcement leaders: Volume 1. Washington, DC: Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. https://www.policefoundation.org/publication/conversations-with-rural-law-enforcement-leaders-volume-i/