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Local Police Departments, 2016: Personnel

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2019
21 pages
Shelley S. Hyland; Elizabeth Davis
Publication Series
Publication Type
Statistics, Report (Technical Assistance), Report (Annual/Periodic)
This report presents data for 1997-2016 (June 30, 2016) on full-time sworn officers employed by general-purpose U.S. law enforcement agencies.
General-purpose law enforcement agencies include municipal, county, and regional police departments; most sheriffs' offices; and primary state and highway patrol agencies. They do not include special-purpose agencies, sheriffs' offices with only jail and court duties, and federal law enforcement agencies. This report's data are based on the 2016 Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LENAS) survey from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). Data were collected from a nationally representative sample of general-purpose law enforcement agencies. Full-time sworn officers are those with general arrest powers. As of June 30, 2016, the 15,333 U.S. general-purpose law enforcement agencies in the United States employed an estimated 701,000 full-time sworn officers. Local police departments composed 80 percent (12,261) of these agencies, employing 67 percent (468.000) of the full-time sworn officers. From 1997 to 2016, the total number of full-time sworn officers in general purpose law enforcement agencies increased by 8 percent, and the number of full-time sworn officers in local police departments increased by 11 percent. During the same period, the total U.S. population increased 21 percent; this resulted in the number of full-time sworn officers in general-purpose law enforcement agencies decreasing from 2.42 per 1,000 residents in 1997 to 2.17 per 1,000 residents in 2016 (down 11 percent). The majority of departments serving 100,000 or more residents had specialized units with personnel assigned full-time to address child abuse, drug enforcement, and gangs. An estimated 2.5 percent of full-time local police officers (11,870) served as school resource officers. 33 tables and 3 figures
Date Modified: January 27, 2021

Shortly before publishing, the population served by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department was updated to 1,048,717 in appendix table 1. This change shifted the classification of population served from 500,000 to 999,999 to 1 million or more, but this change was not reflected in other tables that describe local police departments by population served. Tables, figures, and the summary have been updated accordingly.

Date Created: October 25, 2019