Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Rural cops seek more effective national voice

Rural law enforcement agencies have reponsibility for the vast majority of the American landscape, but lack an effective voice at the national level for their concerns and those of their communities, so they need to work on that, many of them concluded at a recent conference.

At the 2010 National Summit for Small Law Enforcement Agencies, attendees from 27 states “identified their primary concern as the lack of a unified voice at the national level to present the concerns of small and rural agencies,” TechBeat, part of the Department of Justice, reports on

Most attendees agree that until they have a unified voice, their other goals cannot be met. Some said they have success working with state law-enforcement associations. Kim Wallace, chief of a six-officer force in Dover, Tenn., told TechBeat that she is working with her state association to start a Rural Law Enforcement Committee.

The conference was sponsored by the Small, Rural, Tribal and Border Regional Center of the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center System. Scott Barker, director of the center, told TechBeat, “Quite often, when the national organizations form committees and working groups, they typically select representatives from major cities. It isn’t that they have a hidden agenda, they just don’t realize that policing is different in rural areas.” (Read more)

Barker's center is part of the National Institute of Justice in the Justice Department's Office of Justice Programs. TechBeat is a service of the institute.

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