Section VI - Law Enforcement Personnel

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SECTION VI Law Enforcement Personnel

The Nation's law enforcement community employed an average of 2.4 full-time officers for every 1,000 inhabitants as of October 31, 1996. Including full-time civilians, the overall law enforcement employee rate was 3.3 per 1,000 inhabitants according to 13,025 city, county, and state police agencies reporting in 1996. These agencies collectively employed 595,170 officers and 234,668 civilians giving law enforcement service to nearly 249 million U.S. inhabitants. A listing of reported full-time law enforcement officers and civilian employees by state is shown in Table 77.

Varying demographic and other jurisdictional characteristics greatly affect the requirements for law enforcement service from one locale to another. The needs of a community having a highly mobile or seasonal population, for example, may be very different from those of a city whose population is relatively stable. Similarly, a small community situated between two large cities may require a greater number of law enforcement personnel than a community of the same size which has no urban centers nearby.

The functions of law enforcement are also significantly diverse throughout the Nation. In certain areas, sheriffs' responsibilities are limited almost exclusively to civil functions and/or the administration of the county jail facilities. Likewise, the responsibilities of state police and highway patrol agencies vary from one jurisdiction to another.

In view of these differing service requirements and responsibilities, care should be used when attempting any comparison of law enforcement employee rates. The rates presented in the following tables represent national averages; they should be viewed as guides or indicators, not as recommended or desirable police strengths. Adequate personnel for a specific locale can be determined only after careful study and analysis of the various conditions affecting service requirements in that jurisdiction.

The Nation's cities collectively reported an average of 3.0 law enforcement employees per 1,000 inhabitants. The highest average among the city groups, 4.0 employees per 1,000 population, was recorded in cities with over 250,000 inhabitants. Rural and suburban county law enforcement agencies averaged full-time law enforcement employee rates of 4.3 and 3.8 per 1,000 population, respectively. (See Table 74.) Regionally, the law enforcement employee rate was 3.4 per 1,000 inhabitants in both the South and the Northeast, 2.7 in the Midwest, and 2.5 in the West. (See Table 70.)

Sworn Personnel

Rates based solely on sworn law enforcement personnel (excluding civilians) showed the national average for all cities was 2.3 officers per 1,000 inhabitants. By city population grouping, the rates ranged from 1.8 for cities with populations of 25,000 to 99,999 to 3.1 in cities with 250,000 or more inhabitants. Suburban county law enforcement agencies averaged 2.3 officers per 1,000 population, while agencies in rural counties averaged 2.8. (See Table 74.) Geographically, the highest rates of sworn officers to population were recorded in the Northeastern States where there were 2.8 officers per 1,000 inhabitants. Following were the Southern States with 2.6, the Midwestern States with 2.2, and the Western States with 1.8.

Males comprised 90 percent of all sworn employees nationally and in cities. Ninety-three percent of sworn officers in rural counties and 88 percent in suburban counties were males. (See Table 74.)

Civilian Employees

Civilians made up 28 percent of the total United States law enforcement employee force in 1996. They represented 22 percent of the police employees in cities, 37 percent in rural counties, and 38 percent of the suburban county law enforcement strength. Sixty-two percent of all civilian employees were females.

Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted

Fifty-five law enforcement officers were feloniously slain in the line of duty during 1996, 19 fewer than in 1995. Accidents occurring while performing official duties claimed the lives of an additional 45 officers in 1996. The 1996 total for officers accidentally killed was 12 lower than the 1995 total of 57.

Extensive data on line-of-duty deaths and assaults on city, county, state, and federal officers can be found in the Uniform Crime Reporting publication, Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted.

Table 70. - Full-time Law Enforcement Employees,

1

Number and Rate per 1,000 Inhabitants, Geographic Region and Division by Population Group, October 31, 1996

[1996 estimated population] Population group

Total (9,907 cities; population 166,590,000)

Group I (65 cities, 250,000 and over; population 47,047,000) Group II (144 cities, 100,000 to 249,999; population 21,226,000) Group III (359 cities, 50,000 to 99,999; population 24,492,000) Group IV (682 cities, 25,000 to 49,999; population 23,614,000) Group V (1,699 cities, 10,000 to 24,999; population 26,735,000) Group VI (6,958 cities, under 10,000; population 23,477,000) Geographic region/division

TOTAL: 9,907 cities; population 166,590,000: Number of employees

.........................................................

Average number of employees per 1,000 inhabitants

......

3.0

4.0

2.5

2.3

2.3

2.4

3.7

501,823

188,190

53,486

56,323

53,979

63,298

86,547

New England: 712 cities; population 11,829,000:

Number of employees ..........................................................

31,214

2,926

Average number of employees per 1,000 inhabitants ..........

2.6

5.3

3.7

2.5

2.2

2.2

2.8

4,233

6,186

6,170

6,746

4,953

100,464

59,555

3,091

7,550

9,390

11,172

9,706

Middle Atlantic: 1,473 cities; population 27,136,000:

Number of employees ..........................................................

Average number of employees per 1,000 inhabitants ..........

3.7

6.1

3.2

2.5

2.4

2.1

2.3

NORTHEAST: 2,185 cities; population 38,965,000: Number of employees

.........................................................

131,678

62,481

Average number of employees per 1,000 inhabitants

......

3.4

6.0

3.4

2.5

2.4

2.2

2.4

7,324

13,736

15,560

17,918

14,659

East North Central: 1,918 cities; population 29,675,000:

Number of employees ..........................................................

Average number of employees per 1,000 inhabitants ..........

84,909

30,694

6,748

2.9

4.7

2.4

9,707

10,421

13,495

13,844

West North Central: 873 cities; population 11,419,000:

Number of employees ..........................................................

2.1

2.1

2.2

3.0

Average number of employees per 1,000 inhabitants ..........

27,859

7,610

2.4

3.6

2.2

1.7

1.9

2.1

2.8

2,864

2,919

3,464

4,587

6,415

112,768

38,304

9,612

MIDWEST: 2,791 cities; population 41,094,000: Number of employees

.........................................................

Average number of employees per 1,000 inhabitants

......

2.7

4.4

2.4

2.0

2.0

2.2

2.9

12,626

13,885

18,082

20,259

South Atlantic: 1,667 cities; population 19,337,000:

Number of employees ..........................................................

Average number of employees per 1,000 inhabitants ..........

75,483

17,497

11,457

10,046

3.9

4.3

3.1

3.2

3.0

3.3

6.1

6,992

9,630

19,861

27,231

5,584

3,896

1,610

3,165

5,051

7,925

East South Central: 808 cities; population 8,372,000:

Number of employees ..........................................................

West South Central: 1,140 cities; population 19,764,000:

Number of employees ..........................................................

Average number of employees per 1,000 inhabitants ..........

3.3

3.3

2.9

2.8

3.0

2.9

4.1

Average number of employees per 1,000 inhabitants ..........

2.9

3.0

57,070

22,225

6,754

5,339

4,691

6,508

11,553

2.4

2.3

2.3

2.5

4.4

159,784

SOUTH: 3,615 cities; population 47,473,000: Number of employees

.........................................................

45,306

22,107

16,995

14,848

21,189

39,339

Average number of employees per 1,000 inhabitants

......

3.4

3.4

2.8

2.8

2.8

2.9

5.0

29,143

11,937

3,593

3,559

2,500

2,275

5,279

Mountain: 554 cities; population 11,087,000:

Number of employees ..........................................................

Pacific: 762 cities; population 27,972,000:

Number of employees ..........................................................

Average number of employees per 1,000 inhabitants ..........

2.6

2.8

2.3

1.9

2.2

2.4

4.2

Average number of employees per 1,000 inhabitants ..........

2.4

2.9

1.9

2.0

2.0

2.1

4.7

68,450

30,162

10,850

9,407

7,186

3,834

7,011

97,593

42,099

14,443

12,966

9,686

6,109

12,290

WEST: 1,316 cities; population 39,059,000: Number of employees

.........................................................

Average number of employees per 1,000 inhabitants

......

2.5

2.8

2.0

1.9

2.0

2.2

4.5

Suburban and County

Suburban:

2

6,059 agencies; population 101,447,000:

Number of employees ..................................................................... 335,002 Average number of employees per 1,000 inhabitants ..................... 3.3

County: 3,118 agencies; population 82,134,000:

Number of employees ..................................................................... 328,015 Average number of employees per 1,000 inhabitants ..................... 4.0

1Includes civilians.

2Includes suburban city and county law enforcement agencies within metropolitan areas. Excludes central cities. Suburban cities and counties are also included in other groups. Population figures were rounded to the nearest thousand. All rates were calculated before rounding.

Table 71. - Full-time Law Enforcement Officers, Number and Rate per 1,000 Inhabitants, Geographic Region and Division by Population Group, October 31, 1996

[1996...

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