University of Central Oklahoma
The importance of crime and place and the diversity inherent in crime problems and policing styles have been recognized for decades. However, less is known about the types of issues and challenges that must be confronted by agencies located in rural communities. This exploratory research presents preliminary findings from a study of six non-metropolitan law enforcement agencies nested within rural areas in Oklahoma. Qualitative interviews and field visits were conducted with a purposive sample of departmental officials. Data collection efforts focused on understanding the types of issues the departments face and the current state of the drug and crime problems in these areas. Key themes include law enforcement challenges, crime, drugs, and gang activity. Unanticipated findings that emerged during the course of the research are also discussed.
KeywordsLaw enforcement Policing Rural Rural crime Challenges in law enforcement
Funding for this project was provided through grants by the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs at the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO). The authors would like to thank the UCO School of Criminal Justice and Center for Innovative Solutions for supporting the project. Thank you to Raediesha Wood and Carley Dancer for their assistance. The authors give special thanks to the law enforcement officials who took the time to educate researchers about their communities and crime problems. Thank you to the anonymous reviewers.
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