This report summarizes the key topics, focus areas, and needs identified by rural law enforcement leaders at the second series of discussions in Texas, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania.
The continuation of this series of listening sessions brought new ideas and perspectives while providing an opportunity to share information on targeted solutions to serious problems facing rural law enforcement agencies. Confirmation was given to common problems experienced by rural law enforcement agencies as officers in this listening session identified many of the same problems mentioned in previous listening sessions with different rural law enforcement leaders. The broad themes across all listening session have remained consistent as funding, recruitment and retention, staffing, training, equipment, substance use and addiction, illegal drug trafficking and related crimes, jail capacity, mental health and medical care, and complications in obtaining and maximizing federal grants. Immigration enforcement and drug interdiction was a common theme among rural agencies in both northern and southern states. Each of these common themes are addressed in this report. Areas of progress, best practices, and innovative ideas from the listening sessions are also reviewed in an area of the report. The U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services and Bureau of Justice Assistance will draw on the contents of these listening sessions in developing their grant and technical assistance programs.