JUSTICE DEPARTMENT HOSTS NATIONAL RURAL LAW ENFORCEMENT METH SUMMIT
WASHINGTON - The Office of Justice Programs' (OJP) Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) opened today, in partnership with Strategic Applications International, the National Rural Law Enforcement Methamphetamine Summit: Moving Strategy to Action in Denver, Colo. Meth affects rural America in particular, taxing already limited and over?burdened law enforcement, treatment, and public health resources. This summit, made possible through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will address our nation's challenges with methamphetamine and provide support for law enforcement as they develop solutions to transform and protect America's rural communities.
"The methamphetamine crisis, which began more than 20 years ago in western and southwestern regions of the country, is now affecting all areas of the United States, especially rural communities," said Mary Lou Leary, OJP's Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, "This administration is committed to a more balanced approach to addressing meth that recognizes the role of enforcement, as well as prevention and treatment."
According to the National Association of Counties, forty-seven percent of county sheriffs report meth as their number one drug problem. Sixty-two percent of counties with populations less than 25,000 reported an increase in meth abuse by women. Forty-five states show a ninety percent increase in meth-related crime in the past three years.
This Summit is part of a larger Rural Law Enforcement Meth Initiative (RLEMI) created to address the unique challenges of rural jurisdictions and to provide support and best practices. The areas of focus will be interdicting illegal drugs and drug manufacturing/distribution networks in collaboration with state, local, tribal, and federal law enforcement agencies; leveraging other enforcement efforts such as homeland security, traffic safety, drug recognition programs, human trafficking, and border control in jurisdictions with limited resources; providing access to effective prevention, treatment, and recovery services; developing and implementing gang reduction strategies related to drug trafficking for rural areas; and encouraging partnerships at the local, state, and national levels to engage key stakeholders beyond the enforcement community to assist in the successful implementation of enforcement strategies.
Through a competitive selection process, Strategic Application International and BJA selected 7 demonstration sites to participate in RLEMI and provide best practices to rural law enforcement throughout the nation: Ariz., Colo., Kan., Idaho, Okla., Nev., and N.M. The overall initiative is funded by a $2.2 million grant through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and administered by the BJA.
The Office of Justice Programs (OJP), headed by Assistant Attorney General Laurie O. Robinson, provides federal leadership in developing the nationís capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP has seven components: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; the Community Capacity Development Office, and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. More information about OJP can be found at http://www.ojp.gov.