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The Nation : U.S. Compiles First Police Agency Study

While the nation’s biggest cities employ thousands of police, nearly half of all local law enforcement agencies have fewer than 10 officers, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported. And there are 987 local police departments in the nation that can count but one officer on their staffs, according to the first detailed analysis of law enforcement agencies to be compiled by the federal government. At the other end of the scale, 34 local police agencies and 12 sheriff’s departments reported having 1,000 or more officers when the survey was conducted in 1987. All state police agencies, 99% of sheriff’s offices and 97% of local police agencies with 135 or more officers now require at least a high school diploma, the study found. A separate analysis of police standards in 1967 found only 70% required such a diploma. The new study found that about 10% of the larger police departments and 6% of sheriff’s operations are now requiring prospective officers to have at least some college education.


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