While it’s been about half a decade since the last comprehensive statistics were released, the numbers of police departments and law enforcement officials continues to get attention around the country, in particular, in growing cities that are dealing with expanding need and decreasing budgets.
One of the key factors to getting the best out of our local and federal agents is training, but training alone is not enough, as many professionals will attest to. Consider the following statistics related to training, technology and equipment from the Bureau of Justice Statistics:
- In 2008, municipal and township police departments employed an average of 2.3 full-time officers per 1,000 residents.
- About half of local police departments employed fewer than 10 sworn personnel, and about three-fourths served a population of less than 10,000.
- In 2007, about 1 in 8 local police officers were women, compared to 1 in 13 in 1987.
- In 2007, local police recruits were required to complete an average of 1,370 training hours.
- In 2007, more than 4 in 5 local police officers were employed by a department that used physical agility tests (86%) and written aptitude tests (82%) in the hiring process, and more than 3 in 5 by one that used personality inventories (66%).
Equipment & Technology:
- Sixty-one percent of local police departments regularly used video cameras in patrol cars during 2007, compared to 55% in 2003. There were about 71,000 in-car cameras in use during 2007, compared to 49,000 in 2003.
- More than 90% of local police departments serving 25,000 or more residents were using in-field computers during 2007.
- In 2007, about 9 in 10 local police officers were employed by a department that used in-field computers, compared to about 3 in 10 officers in 1990.
Click to read in full the report on Local Police from the BJS.
What is Lacking?
Training and resources to develop such is important but not enough alone. What should be noted here is the development of technology and equipment to support what local law enforcement do—a development that has an impact downstream when it comes to closing cases and finding justice. The question is why aren’t more departments adopting the appropriate equipment? Why isn’t adoption more widespread than it is?
For example, some of the most recently equipment on the market can assist officers with capturing testimony or conducting interrogations. One example of this is the recently released iRecord Anywhere tablet, which is the first surface tablet designed to create digital video recordings of interrogations.
What’s lacking is greater access and use of products that leverage technology in order to assist professionals in carrying out their job and responsibilities.
Continue the Conversation…
Is your department ready to level up to 21st century standards? If your agency is looking to leverage technology, technology developed by investigators for investigators, talk to us about what that could look like. You can listen or watch others do the same by visiting our press/media page.