Officers, deputies around the state come to Tulare County for special training

More than 50 officers from about 30 counties statewide are participating, making it the largest class yet.

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Monday, September 26, 2022
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Officers and deputies from across the state are in the South Valley this week to improve the way they respond to crimes in rural areas.

TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- From identifying stolen livestock or bees to tractors and equipment, the training at the Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner's Office is all about preventing and solving rural crimes.

More than 50 officers from about 30 counties statewide are participating, making it the largest class yet.

"We are here for all the farmers, ranchers and everyone that works so hard to provide the resources we need," says Butte County Deputy Sheriff Rowdy Freeman. "Farmers and ranchers are a big target for theft."

Since 2012, the Tulare County District Attorney's Office has hosted the California Rural Crime Prevention Task Force. The list of topics includes crimes that can impact everyone.

"They are learning about livestock, agro terrorism, cargo theft, recycling centers and doing checks to ensure things like metal, copper and catalytic converters and things like that," says Nicole Mitchell.

Mitchell says it's vital agencies from different counties work together quickly when solving these types of cases.

"One company can have properties in our counties and other counties in Southern or Northern California, making sure that rural task force can work together so officers have more information," she said.

Freeman says with agriculture being the staple it is and the consistent traction from the task force, the training will stick around for years to come.

"The future of the task force isn't going anywhere," he said. "We continue to grow and our memberships increase every year. The school is gaining popularity."

Freeman and Mitchell say they've also noticed how beneficial the task force is for new officers dealing with Ag crime.

The 40-plus hour training will wrap up on Friday.