Prof. Barbara Creel Speaks on Policing the Rural West

March 13, 2015 - Tamara Williams


UNM Law School Professor Barbara Creel presented at the Rural West Conference hosted by Stanford University’s Bill Lane Center for the American West from March 4-6, 2015.

The conference theme, “Preservation and Transformation: The Future of the Rural West,” addressed important questions such as: What is distinct about the rural West? And how can we transform the rural West for the better without sacrificing the things that makes the region unique?

Panel presentations provided an opportunity to explore issues of economic vitality, crime and policing, youth, culture, land use, and the availability of services in the rural West.

The panel “Fewer People Means Less Crime… Right? The Unique Challenges of Policing the Rural West” discussed the challenges faced by law enforcement in the rural West.

Creel’s presentation “Indian Country jurisdiction, geography and justice,” provided the unique background and challenges of crime and punishment of Indians on and off the reservation.

Political scientist Cameron DeHart, award-winning journalist Les Zaitz, and Josh Rowlett, Rural Crimes Investigator at the Tulare County District Attorney's Office were also on the panel, which was moderated by University of Oregon Law Professor Carrie Leonetti.

The panel also explored new investigative and social approaches to reducing crime in rural western communities.

The conference, Preservation and Transformation: the Future of the Rural West, took place in Troutdale, Oregon at the gateway to the Columbia River Gorge.

Before teaching at UNM, Creel worked on the Columbia River on fishing access and the Celilo Village Redevelopment Project, as the Tribal Liaison for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The restoration was a truly unique project bringing new homes, water and sanitation systems to the ancient fishing village, and restoring and preserving a significant cultural and historic site.