On May 15, 2006, The Bureau of Justice Statistics release the Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS) report on Local Police Department for 2003. The following are highlights from that report.
How does your local agency measure up?
• As of June 2003 local police departments had about 581,000 full-time employees, including about 452,000 sworn personnel. There were about 11,000 more sworn and 4,000 more nonsworn employees than in 2000.
• Racial and ethnic minorities comprised 23.6% of full-time sworn personnel in 2003, up from 22.6% in 2000, and 14.6% in 1987. Women comprised 11.3% of officers in 2003, up from 10.6% in 2000, and 7.6% in 1987.
• From 2000 to 2003 the number of black or African American local police officers increased by 1,500, or 3%; Hispanic or Latino officers by 4,700, or 13%; officers from other minority groups by 850, or 7%, and female officers by 4,400, or 9%.
• Sixty-one percent of departments had officer separations during the 12-month period ending June 30, 2003. Overall, about 32,100 officers separated, including 16,100 resignations, 9,400 retirements, and 2,600 dismissals.
• Sixty percent of departments hired new officers during the 12-month period ending June 30, 2003. Overall, about 34,500 officers were hired, including 28,800 entry-level hires, and 5,300 lateral transfers/hires.
• During the 12-month period ending June 30, 2003, 21% of local police departments had full-time sworn personnel called-up as full-time military reservists. Overall, about 7,500 officers were called up.
Budget and pay
• Departments had total operating budgets of $43.3 billion during fiscal 2003, 10% more than in 2000 after adjusting for inflation. Operating expenditures in 2003 averaged $93,300 per sworn officer, and $200 per resident.
• In 2003 starting salaries for local police officers ranged from an average of about $23,400 in the smallest jurisdictions to about $37,700 in the largest.
• Fifty-nine percent of departments, including more than 75% of those serving 250,000 or more residents, used foot patrol routinely. An estimated 38%, including more than 95% of those serving 500,000 or more residents, used bicycle patrol on a regular basis.
• In 2003, 92% of local police departments, employing 98% of all officers, participated in a 9-1-1 emergency system compared to 32% and 60% in 1987. In 2003, 73% of Departments, employing 90% of all officers, had enhanced 9-1-1, compared to 7% and 26% in 1987.
• Eighteen percent of departments had officers assigned full time to a special unit for drug enforcement, with about 12,000 officers assigned nationwide. Nearly a quarter of departments had officers assigned to a multi-agency drug task force, with about 6,000 officers assigned full time nationwide. • Twenty-seven percent of local police departments were responsible for providing court security, 18% for serving civil process, and 9% for operating a jail.
• Thirty-six percent of departments had drug asset forfeiture receipts during 2002, including more than 80% of those serving 25,000 or more residents. Nationwide, receipts totaled about $298 million, or $642 per officer.
• Fourteen percent of local police departments, employing 44% of all officers, maintained or created a written community policing plan during the 12-month period ending June 30, 2003.
• Nearly half (47%) of departments, employing 73% of all officers, had a mission statement that included some aspect of community policing.
• Fifty-eight percent of all departments, employing 82% of all officers, used fulltime community policing officers during 2003. Collectively, there were about 54,800 local police officers so designated.
• Thirty-one percent of departments, employing 67% of all officers, trained all new officer recruits in community policing. This included more than 3 in 4 departments serving a population of 100,000 or more.
• Sixty percent of departments, including more than 80% of those serving 25,000 or more residents, had problem solving partnerships or written agreements with community groups, local agencies, or others during the 12-month period ending June 30, 2003.
• Forty-three percent of departments, employing 74% of all officers, used fulltime school resource officers in 2003. Collectively, these agencies employed about 14,300 such officers.
• Nearly all departments had a written policy on pursuit driving. Three-fifths restricted vehicle pursuits according to specific criteria such as speed or offense. About a fourth had a policy that left the decision to the officer’s discretion, and 6% discouraged all vehicle pursuits.
• Ninety-five percent of departments, employing 99% of all officers, had a written policy on the use of deadly force. Ninety percent, employing 97% of all officers, had a policy on the use of nonlethal force.
• Sixty-two percent of departments had written policies about racial profiling by officers. This included about 9 in 10 agencies serving populations of 250,000 or more residents.
• Thirty-nine percent of departments had a written plan specifying actions to be taken in the event of a terrorist attack. This included a majority of departments serving 10,000 or more residents.
• Eighty-four percent of departments, employing 95% of officers, had written policies or procedures for handling juveniles; 59%, employing 81% of officers, for responding to the mentally ill; and 27%, employing 42% of officers, for interacting with homeless persons.
• In 2003 the .40-caliber semiautomatic was the most commonly authorized sidearm, with 62% of departments authorizing its use by officers.
• An estimated 99% of departments authorized use of chemical agents such as pepper spray during 2003, up from 51% in 1990.
• In 2003, 74% of local police officers were employed by a department that required at least some field officers to wear protective body armor while on duty, compared to 30% in 1990.
• Nationwide, local police departments in 2003 operated an estimated 242,700 cars, or about 1 car for every 2 officers employed. About a third of these cars were unmarked.
• Nearly 1 in 3 departments used dogs for law enforcement work, including more than 90% of those serving 100,000 or more residents. About 2% used horses, including most of those serving 250,000 or more residents.
• Fifty-five percent of departments regularly used video cameras in police car during 2003, compared to 37% in 2000. There were about 49,000 in-car cameras in use during 2003. Eleven percent of departments operated traffic enforcement cameras during 2003.
Computers and information systems
• From 1990 to 2003 the percentage of local police departments using infield computers increased from 5% to 56%. Departments using infield computers employed 83% of all officers in 2003, up from 30% in 1990.
• From 2000 to 2003 the percent of local police officers employed by a department with infield computer access to vehicle records increased from 67% to 78%. The percent employed by a department with infield computer access to criminal history records rose from 29% to 39%.
• In 2003, 55% of departments used paper reports as the primary means to transmit criminal incident field data to a central information system, down from 86% in 1997. During the same time period, use of computer and data devices increased from 9% to 38%.
You can view the complete report here