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The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) reports on department sizes, but it only includes the fifty largest departments. I do not believe the fifty largest departments are representative of smaller departments, as most, if not all, of the cities would have a large presence of non-resident employees and tourists compared to smaller cities (a possible justification for more sworn officers).

As of January 1, 2013, the more than 12,000 local police departments in the United States employed an estimated 605,000 persons on a full-time basis. This total included about 477,000 sworn officers (those with general arrest powers) and about 128,000 nonsworn employees. (source)

According to the Census, the US population was 315,035,869 on January 1, 2013. The math would mean there is 1 officer for every 660 citizens on average.

With the national conversation #DefundThePolice, I was hoping to find data on individual departments that are not in the top fifty. I would like to know the amount of sworn officers per population in individual municipalities.

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    Given that there are 12,000 police departments, I find it unlikely that anyone on here will have data on each and every one of them. I'd suggest that you narrow your question down to a smaller number of departments. – Joe C Sep 6 '20 at 21:05
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    @JoeC - maybe there is another federal agency with the information? Or at least another website? Maybe a non-profit? The metropolitan Detroit area would be my preferred area. – Cardi DeMonaco Jr Sep 6 '20 at 21:37
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    There is no comprehensive data base that is publicly accessible with that data. The Census of Local Governments conducted periodically by the U.S. Department of Commerce, however, may have data broken down by state and size class of city, and there might be secondary sources summarizing it. Otherwise, you need to go one by one which is very tedious and a major undertaking. There might also be state specific resources such as a state department of local government, or police officer llicensing bureau. – ohwilleke Sep 7 '20 at 21:51
  • @cgcampbell - of course the suburbs have sworn police officers. The Bureau of Justice Statistics must have this information, as they give the total amount of sworn officers in the country. They most likely say "estimate" as it is of course outdated the minute any one of them retires, or a department hires an additional officer. I'd like to know individual departments at a point in time, because each municipal government runs their own department, and they can of course therefore be extremely different. – Cardi DeMonaco Jr Sep 9 '20 at 14:28
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    Even things like the number of police shootings are only now known because of dedicated researchers data mining news reports. You certainly can't just look up a database that says department x had on month y in 1997 – eps Sep 14 '20 at 20:12

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