Rural Law Enforcement Agencies: Get Free Information Sharing Assistance from SEARCH

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Last September, SEARCH began 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. To date, SEARCH has provided targeted assistance and training to several dozen rural jurisdictions nationwide—assistance that is helping them meet their specific information sharing challenges.

We still have resources available to assist more rural local and tribal jurisdictions—and we encourage you to apply today (see box for details). Support for this effort is provided by the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance.

What sorts of assistance have rural jurisdictions received so far? Examples of our 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.

Who qualifies for this assistance?
  • 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).
  • 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. Mark Perbix, Director of SEARCH's Information Sharing Programs. "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 Information Sharing Programs team 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 team has extensive experience planning, designing, implementing, acquiring, and measuring the effectiveness of technology in justice and public safety.

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 43 years of experience supporting the information sharing, interoperability, information technology, e-crime investigative, and criminal records needs of justice and public safety agencies and practitioners nationwide. Visit us online at or