SEARCH Offers Free Information Sharing Assistance to Rural Law Enforcement Agencies

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SEARCH is offering free assistance to rural law enforcement agencies nationwide under funding from the FY 2009 Recovery Act Assistance to Rural Law Enforcement Grant.

"The grant is intended to help justice practitioners in local and tribal agencies understand how to use technology to share critical information, noted Mr. Mark Perbix, SEARCH Director of Systems and Technology. "This award allows SEARCH to provide rural jurisdictions with the targeted training and technical assistance they need to meet their specific information sharing challenge."

Funding is provided by the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance to these jurisdictions:

  • A law enforcement or tribal jurisdiction in a "rural" state (Alaska, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, New Mexico, Idaho, Nebraska, Nevada, Utah, Kansas, Oregon, Maine, Colorado, Vermont), except for those agencies located in a metropolitan statistical area (MSA). 1
  • Local, county, or tribal jurisdictions (in any state) that serve a population of less than 50,000, whether or not they are located in an MSA.
  • Independent cities and townships (in any state) if they have a population of less than 50,000 and the surrounding county(ies) also has/have a total population of less than 50,000.

"We urge rural law enforcement agencies to apply for this assistance," said Mr. Perbix. "A wide variety of information sharing topics affect rural law enforcement jurisdictions, and we provide expert training and technical assistance to help these small agencies tackle their issues."

These information sharing challenges can include:
  • Governance
  • Policy development
  • Interoperability
  • Computer-Aided Dispatch
  • Records Management Systems
  • Information sharing with the FBI's Law Enforcement National Data Exchange system, N-DEx
  • Providing information to the FBI Criminal Justice Information Services Division, CJIS

SEARCH provides this training and technical assistance to justice practitioners at no cost to the jurisdictions. SEARCH's Systems and Technology Program helps justice and public safety practitioners at all levels of government succeed with information sharing projects and initiatives through effective and efficient use of appropriate technology. The Systems and Technology team has extensive experience planning, designing, implementing, acquiring, and measuring the effectiveness of technology in justice and public safety.

A number of rural jurisdictions have already benefited from this free assistance. Examples of recent work include:
  • Oregon: Designing an information exchange that combines NIBRS and N-DEx information into a single submission for Oregon law enforcement agencies
  • Montana, Vermont: Assisting with strategic planning for an information sharing project
  • Maine: Establishing justice information sharing governance among public safety agencies in the state
  • Navajo Nation: Conducting a records management and integration assessment
  • Wisconsin: Assisting with developing an RFP for license plate readers and associated technology with a local jurisdiction

In addition to these types of projects, SEARCH team members have led successful large and small technology implementation projects, facilitated the development of statewide technology policy initiatives, made significant contributions to national and international technology standards, and have substantial expertise in the modeling of information exchange requirements. The SEARCH website provides additional information and details regarding SEARCH and its programs.

SEARCH is a nonprofit membership organization created by and for the states. It has more than 42 years of experience supporting the information sharing, interoperability, information technology, cybercrime and criminal records needs of justice and public safety agencies and practitioners nationwide. Visit us online at or

1 States with a population density of less than 52 persons per square mile, or a state in which the largest county population is fewer than 150,000 people.