Typically, there are fewer officers in rural towns due to issues like budget constraints and the inability to compete with urban salaries, though they face similar challenges such as substance abuse, violent crime, and homelessness as metropolitan areas. With a lack of available staffing for joint-efforts between departments, such as highway patrol and local police and drug enforcement, substance abuse in rural communities can be hard to combat.
In addition, there is supporting research that indicates rural locations have higher rates of untreated mental illness and suicide as there tends to be a lack of mental health resources to help address behavioral health issues, which can be dangerous for officers.
Small-town police departments also face the budget constraints of affording advanced law enforcement (LE) technology such as body-worn cameras and video imaging tools, robotics, license plate readers, evidence collection, and gunshot detection systems. Small police departments can also be constrained by the challenges of rural internet sources that struggle with connectivity and operate at slow speeds.