My next response goes out to the divine Kentucky favorite of mine...Angel...
"My small town has police that are.. oh what's the word.. umm lackluster. Part of the problem is in our area they are low paid. Sorry but I find it offensive if I am asking you to protect me that my city cannot find the money to pay you enough to NOT live in low income housing.. trust story. I have a friend who is a dispatcher, people complained about the cost of running the service, but let them NEED their help and they will complain about how long it took them to respond. Imagine how much longer it would take without 911 to call.."
First, emergency services are costly! Wow! Millions. I've seen our budgets in Casper, Wyoming, and boy howdy. What the community doesn't know is that is just the icing. The budget figures do not include grants, government issued equipment donations-i.e. Military surplus, contract pay, Homeland Security monies, etc. Small town America Copland is what the department makes it. Your small town cops can either be well-rounded, uneducated, Barney Fife, or bitter. They also work for next to nothing. For instance, the police around here start out at an average of $32,000-38,000 for a large department and state police. Smaller...less. I made good money. It's never enough in the cop's eye for what you put up with, but I had overtime opportunities and special assignment pay. In comparison, veteran cops may also have merit pay or specialty pay. Not all departments can afford to pay their people like that. Cost of living also has a lot to do with it. The police making that money in Indiana can live on that amount if they don't overdue their budget, but it is a tight living. No luxuries. In Casper...we live high on the hog.
Good pay also deters corruption and pays back what the job takes off your life. It's not feasible everywhere. So...most of your small towners do it because they love it...at least I hope so.
I have seen small town cops be corrupt assholes and uneducated where I would rather defend myself. I have seen small town cops be superstars and make the best of what they can.
And yes, isolation breeds problems and blessings. I was 911 on the river house. I am 911 here. And I live next to Sheriff Mike. That tells you something. I think it's his bad taste in music.
And Angel...always wanted to live in the south...so I am not far from you. I will visit you one day. As for training? Absolutely. They couldn't afford me. However, I do train agencies on Infant Death Investigations for free on weekends if my expenses including room and board are paid for.
Keep you chin up and your Kentucky shotgun close by!