Rural Law Enforcement Challenges: A Round Table Discussion

Rural Law Enforcement Challenges: A Round Table Discussion
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Resources
Recorded on: 2020-01-16
Unit 1Slide Deck: Rural Law Enforcement Challenges
Unit 2Workbook: Rural Law Enforcement Challenges
Unit 3Recording: Rural Law Enforcement Challenges

Different locations experience different issues when it comes to preserving peace and safety. Various factors like geography and topography, population, available manpower and budget all play important roles on whether an agency will be effective in their law enforcement and public safety efforts. In this session, Morgan County, Indiana’s policing and corrections initiatives will be scrutinized on how they deal with the challenges they face in the county.

To talk about the different aspects of these efforts are Linda Chezem, Sheriff Rich Myers, County Councilman Daniel Elliot, Jail Commander David Rogers, and Captain Brent Worth. Linda Chezem is a Professor Emerita of Youth Development and Agriculture Education at Purdue University. She’s served for 22 years in the Lawrence County Court, Lawrence Circuit Court, and Indiana Court of Appeals. Rich Myers has been the Sheriff of Morgan County since 2019 and has been working in the law enforcement field for 38 years. Daniel Elliot is an at-large member of the Morgan County and is involved with the community’s economic development. David Rogers is the Jail Commander for the Sheriff’s Office with two decades of experience in various law enforcement roles. Brent Worth serves the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, working in public safety for 30 years involved in both law enforcement and emergency medical services.

Using the different lenses that each presenter provides, the points discussed in this webinar are:

  • The specific challenges Morgan County is experiencing in terms of staffing, funding and response time for calls for service and how they manage these through collaboration.
  • The complexities that Morgan County faces technology-wise due to their expansive land area and unique topography that make notification updates, information gathering, and data transfer more difficult.
  • The tools and methods that they employ through:
    • Familiarity with the call types, volume, and location
    • Awareness of dead-zones and proactive back-up deployment in areas with little to no means of connectivity/communication.
    • Strategic positioning of officers allowing response within a reasonable time frame.
    • Flexible reporting options for the officers.
    • Maximizing bodycam footages for reporting and investigation purposes.
  • A look into Morgan County’s drug abuse problem.
    • How corrections were burdened with limited funding and changes in legislation.
    • The Residential Substance Abuse Program (RSAP) created to curb the jail overpopulation and ease the budget deficits due to having drug offenders in jail.
    • The positive outcomes of the RSAP with its success rate and reduction in the jail population.
    • An overview of the inclusions of their in-jail and out-of-jail services that ensures seamless re-entry of the inmate to the community.
  • The critical role of council members in appropriating budget allocation to effectively resolve the community’s issues, communicating with the stakeholders the options to address these, and gaining community buy-in for proposed resolutions to identified issues.

Questions from the audience were about:

  • Training officers to be adept in various types and phases of cases.
  • Whether the RSAP integrates medication-assisted treatment (MAT).
  • Best practices when it comes to recruiting and retaining personnel.

Addressing the issue of jails becoming interim mental health treatment providers.


Audience Comments:

  • “Good webinar!!” — Dana
  • “Thank you everything was well explained. Love it. It was awesome.” — Imelda
  • “I learned valuable information from the statistical data that was given compared to what I’m dealing with in my area.” — Karla
  • “Points made toward challenges that affect rural law enforcement are broad-based and not limited to only one or two issues.” — Michael
  • “The wide range of the round tables experience and knowledge of the subject.” — Michael
  • “Helped to identify the complexity of challenges faced.” — Phyllis
  • “Working together is still the best KEY.” — Robert



Additional Resources
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