BASKING RIDGE, N.J., Aug. 11, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- A native son of south central Kentucky, Warren County Sheriff Jerry "Peanuts" Gaines is devoted to serving his community. His mission: to ensure the safety of citizens and responders and to deliver the best non-emergency services available. His partner in that mission is Bluegrass Cellular, the first regional wireless carrier in the nation to participate in the Verizon Wireless LTE in Rural America (LRA) program. (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140811/134940) Sheriff Gaines explained that communications plays a vital role in virtually every operation he's responsible for within this 548-square-mile county, making the speed, reliability and reach of wireless connections critically important. "For over a decade, I have used Bluegrass Cellular for the wireless voice and data needs of my office," said Sheriff Gaines. With Bluegrass's participation in the LRA program, the Sheriff's Department now benefits from 4G LTE speed. He adds, "My patrol deputies and supervisory personnel are equipped with 4G LTE air cards, which allow them to access state and local motor vehicle and criminal records from their mobile data terminals in the field. We depend on these communications in both routine and emergency situations." Bluegrass Cellular is one of 21 participants in the Verizon Wireless LRA program. Verizon Wireless provides the largest area of 4G LTE network coverage in rural areas in the United States*. Through the LRA program, started in 2010 to bring the benefits of high-speed mobile broadband to rural communities on a quicker timetable, Verizon Wireless leases its 700 MHz upper C Block spectrum to rural companies and works with them to build and operate 4G LTE networks in their areas. To date, 18 participants have launched their networks, which cover more than 2.3 million people and more than 70,000 square miles. The rural networks extend the 4G LTE footprints for both Verizon Wireless customers and customers of other companies participating in the LRA program. Those customers can roam on Verizon Wireless' 4G LTE network throughout the U.S., as well as the networks of all the other rural participants. Verizon Wireless customers can also roam on the rural companies' networks.