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Sheriffs' Departments, 1997: Executive Summary

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 1999
4 pages
Data on sheriffs' departments for 1997 cover personnel, expenditures and pay, operations, community policing, equipment, computers and information systems, and written policy directives.
Based on the 1997 Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS) survey, this report presents data collected from a representative sample of the nearly 3,100 sheriffs' departments operating nationwide. Data show that as of June 1997, sheriffs' departments had an estimated 263,427 full-time employees, including approximately 175,000 sworn personnel. Total employment was up by an average 4.4 percent per year since 1993, compared to 3.1 percent per year from 1987 to 1993. Racial and ethnic minorities composed 19 percent of full-time sworn officers in sheriffs' departments in 1997, compared to 16.9 percent in 1993, 15.5 percent in 1990, and 13.4 percent in 1987. Nearly all officers worked for departments that used criminal record checks (99 percent), background investigations (98 percent), driving record checks (95 percent), and medical exams (92 percent) to screen applicants. Psychological (75 percent), aptitude (69 percent), and physical agility (59 percent) tests were also widely used. A large percentage of sheriffs' departments performed basic law enforcement functions such as providing routine patrol services, responding to citizen calls for service, investigating crimes, and enforcing traffic laws. About one in seven sheriffs' departments had a formally written community policing plan in 1997. Ninety-three percent of sheriffs' departments used computers in 1997, compared to 82 percent in 1993. Nearly all sheriffs' departments had a written policy on pursuit driving; 91 percent had a written policy on the use of deadly force; and 85 percent had a policy on handling domestic disputes. 3 figures

Date Published: October 1, 1999