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Local Police Departments, 1997: Executive Summary

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 1999
5 pages
Publication Series
This is a summary of activities by local police departments nationwide during 1997.

Based on the 1997 LEMAS survey, this report presents data collected from a representative sample of the more than 13,000 general-purpose local police departments nationwide. Tables describe the number and size of agencies, job classification of personnel, race and sex of sworn personnel, agency functions, 911 system, lockup facilities, operating expenditures, starting salaries, special pay, education and training requirements, sidearms, nonlethal weapons, body armor policies, vehicle use policies, computers, and written policy directives.

  • As of June 1997, local police departments had an estimated 531,496 full-time employees, including 420,000 sworn personnel. Local police employment was up by an average of about 3% per year since 1993, compared to about 1% per year from 1987 to 1993.
  • Racial and ethnic minorities comprised 21.5% of full-time sworn officers in local police departments in 1997. This compared to 19.1% in 1993, 17.0% in 1990, and 14.6% in 1987.
  • Nearly all officers worked for departments that used criminal record checks (99%), back-ground investigations (98%), driving record checks (98%), and medical exams (97%) to screen applicants. Psychological (91%), aptitude (84%), and physical agility (78%) tests were also widely used.

Date Published: October 1, 1999