Section VI - Law Enforcement Personnel

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SECTION VI Law Enforcement Personnel

The Nation's law enforcement community employed an average of 2.5 full-time officers for every 1,000 inhabitants as of October 31, 1997. Including full-time civilians, the overall law enforcement employee rate was 3.4 per 1,000 inhabitants according to 13,339 city, county, and state police agencies reporting in 1997. These agencies collectively employed 618,127 officers and 240,405 civilians providing law enforcement service to over 251 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 preferred 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 3.1 law enforcement employees per 1,000 inhabitants. The highest average, 4.0 employees per 1,000 population, was recorded in both the Nation's smallest cities, those with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants, and in its largest cities (over 250,000 in population). Rural and suburban county law enforcement agencies averaged full-time law enforcement employee rates of 4.4 and 4.0 per 1,000 population, respectively. (See Table 74.) Regionally, the law enforcement employee rate was 3.5 per 1,000 inhabitants in the South, 3.4 in the Northeast, 2.8 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 2.4 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 and in those with populations under 10,000. Suburban county law enforcement agencies averaged 2.5 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 2.7, 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 1997. They represented 22 percent of the police employees in cities, 36 percent in rural counties, and 37 percent of the suburban county law enforcement strength. Sixty-three percent of all civilian employees were females.

Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted

Sixty-five law enforcement officers were feloniously slain in the line of duty during 1997, 9 more than in 1996. Accidents occurring in the performance of official duties claimed the lives of an additional 60 officers in 1997. The 1997 total for officers accidentally killed was 13 higher than the 1996 total of 47.

Extensive data on line-of-duty deaths and assaults on city, county, state, and federal officers can be found in the Uniform Crime Reports 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, 1997

[1997 estimated population] Population group

Total (10,170 cities; population 169,013,000)

Group I (66 cities, 250,000 and over; population 47,715,000) Group II (149 cities, 100,000 to 249,999; population 21,921,000) Group III (359 cities, 50,000 to 99,999; population 24,491,000) Group IV (692 cities, 25,000 to 49,999; population 23,883,000) Group V (1,725 cities, 10,000 to 24,999; population 27,120,000) Group VI (7,179 cities, under 10,000; population 23,884,000) Geographic region/division

TOTAL: 10,170 cities; population 169,013,000: Number of employees

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

Average number of employees per 1,000 inhabitants

...

3.1

4.0

2.6

2.3

2.3

2.4

4.0

520,309

191,441

56,155

56,920

55,310

65,336

95,147

New England: 714 cities; population 11,816,000:

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

31,626

2,843

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

2.7

5.1

3.8

2.5

2.3

2.2

2.9

4,342

6,223

6,268

6,816

5,134

107,726

60,159

4,419

7,929

10,144

12,143

12,932

Middle Atlantic: 1,624 cities; population 28,664,000:

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

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

3.8

6.2

3.4

2.4

2.5

2.1

2.8

NORTHEAST: 2,338 cities; population 40,480,000: Number of employees

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

139,352

63,002

Average number of employees per 1,000 inhabitants

...

3.4

6.1

3.5

2.4

2.4

2.2

2.9

8,761

14,152

16,412

18,959

18,066

East North Central: 1,940 cities; population 29,815,000:

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

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

85,945

30,699

6,751

2.9

4.6

2.4

9,616

10,864

13,744

14,271

West North Central: 892 cities; population 11,480,000:

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

2.1

2.1

2.2

3.0

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

28,389

7,661

2.5

3.6

2.3

1.7

1.9

2.2

2.9

2,936

3,003

3,614

4,668

6,507

114,334

38,360

9,687

MIDWEST: 2,832 cities; population 41,295,000: Number of employees

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

Average number of employees per 1,000 inhabitants

...

2.8

4.4

2.4

2.0

2.1

2.2

3.0

12,619

14,478

18,412

20,778

South Atlantic: 1,667 cities; population 19,426,000:

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

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

79,570

18,543

10,900

10,693

4.1

4.3

3.1

3.3

3.1

3.4

7.1

6,852

9,995

22,587

28,694

5,698

4,003

1,497

3,346

5,028

9,122

East South Central: 827 cities; population 8,371,000:

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

West South Central: 1,154 cities; population 19,968,000:

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

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

3.4

3.3

3.0

2.9

3.0

2.9

4.7

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

2.9

3.0

58,528

22,811

7,381

4,983

4,773

6,612

11,968

2.4

2.3

2.4

2.5

4.5

166,792

SOUTH: 3,648 cities; population 47,765,000: Number of employees

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

47,052

22,284

17,173

14,971

21,635

43,677

Average number of employees per 1,000 inhabitants

...

3.5

3.5

2.8

2.9

2.8

3.0

5.6

30,762

12,351

4,184

3,364

2,738

2,515

5,610

Mountain: 585 cities; population 11,494,000:

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

Pacific: 767 cities; population 27,980,000:

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

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

2.7

2.8

2.3

2.0

2.3

2.5

4.2

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

2.5

2.9

2.0

1.9

2.0

2.2

4.7

69,069

30,676

11,239

9,612

6,711

3,815

7,016

99,831

43,027

15,423

12,976

9,449

6,330

12,626

WEST: 1,352 cities; population 39,474,000: Number of employees

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

Average number of employees per 1,000 inhabitants

...

2.5

2.8

2.1

2.0

2.0

2.3

4.5

Suburban and County

Suburban:

2

6,265 agencies; population 102,375,000:

Number of employees ..................................................................... 352,780 Average number of employees per 1,000 inhabitants .................. 3.4

County: 3,169 agencies; population 82,302,000:

Number of employees ..................................................................... 338,223 Average number of employees per 1,000 inhabitants .................... 4.1

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...

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