Sheriff joins federal research group

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Douglas County Sheriff Ron Pierini began working recently with a federal program tackling various problems rural law enforcement agencies face.

Pierini is one of 20 members chosen nationwide to work at the federally-funded University of Eastern Kentucky's Rural Law Enforcement Technology Center.

The council met for the first time last month and could meet in Northern Nevada later this year, Pierini said.

The center's director, Rod Maggard, told Pierini he wants comments from members to determine ways to make the center as helpful to rural law enforcement as possible.

Pierini said the federal center will test and rate various types of law enforcement equipment and make results available to rural agencies like the Douglas County's Sheriff's Office before they buy such equipment.

Pierini said the center-provided information will help agencies like his make better decisions when it makes large purchases of equipment such as taser guns.

"It's a good concept," he said. "And they're willing to do whatever it takes" to make the center helpful to rural agencies.

The federal center cost $27 million to build.

Another purpose of the center and its council is to tell the Congress what the needs of rural law enforcement are, Pierini said.

Through talking to other council members from rural jurisdictions in the South, Pierini said he learned his office compares favorably with similar agencies.

"We're light years ahead of some jurisdictions," he said. "We have a real progressive (office.)"

Pierini said this is partly because his office applies for and receives several grants to fund new equipment and programs.

The sheriff said he faces similar problems with staffing and large areas to cover as fellow members from Idaho and Montana.

Also, Pierini said he had more in common with the group's other Western members.

"We have similar thinking patterns," he said.

Pierini said problems in the South stem mostly from having smaller agencies with overlapping boundaries.


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