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The NCJRS Abstracts Database contains abstracts of more than 200,000 criminal justice, juvenile justice, and substance abuse resources housed within the NCJRS Library. Search the NCJRS Abstracts Database for resources on this topic.
Law Enforcement Programs at a Glance
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Law Enforcement Practice Outcomes at a GlanceNew
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Law Enforcement

Local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement officers perform a number of prevention and enforcement functions and duties across the United States (U.S.). Examples of these include criminal investigation, patrol and call response, community-based crime prevention, corrections and detention supervision, court operations, and security or protection.

Fast Facts

  • In 2012, local, state, and federal law enforcement officers made an estimated 12.2 million arrests.[1]

  • As of September 2008, there were approximately 120,000 full-time federal officers that were authorized to make arrests and carry firearms in the U.S. The largest employers were U.S. Customs and Border Protection (36,863), Federal Bureau of Prisons (16,835), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (12,760), and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (12,446).[2]

  • State and local law enforcement agencies employed about 1.1 million persons on a full-time basis in 2008, including 765,000 sworn personnel. From 2004-2008, overall full-time employment by state and local law enforcement agencies increased by about 57,000 (5.3%); of this total, about 33,000 were full-time sworn personnel.[3]

  • Twenty of the 50 primary state law enforcement agencies employed at least 1,000 full-time officers in 2008.[4]

  • In 2008, almost every county in the U.S. operated a sheriff’s office. Nearly all sheriffs’ offices performed law enforcement and court-related functions. About three-quarters of the agencies operated at least one jail.[5]

  • An estimated 12,575 local police departments operated in the U.S. during 2007, employing approximately 463,000 full-time sworn personnel. Operating budgets of local police departments in 2007 totaled $55.4 billion, a 14% increase from 2003, after adjusting for inflation.[6]

  • In 2007, one in eight local police officers was a woman compared to one in thirteen officers in 1987. About one in four officers was a member of a racial or ethnic minority in 2007, compared to one in six in 1987.[7]

  • In 2007, 81% of local police officers were employed by a department that trained all new recruits in community policing, an increase from 73% in 2003.[8]


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