Some interesting facts about police in America. From the FBI (via Governing.com):

  • Washington, D.C. is the most policed city in America. It employs 61.2 officers for every 10,000 residents (excluding nonresident commuters, who exceed the city’s nighttime population).
  • Los Angeles employs 25.9 officers for every 10,000 residents (excluding non-resident commuters). 
  • Youngstown, OH–a top-ten most dangerous city in America–employs 22.7 officers per 10,000 residents.
  • Detroit, the most dangerous city in America, employs 36.3 officers for every 10,000 residents.
  • In 2007, according to the BJS, municipal and township police departments employed an average of 2.3 officers per 1,000 residents. This puts the United States among the bottom half of all countries when it comes to police per capita.

As far as I know, this data does not include police employed by states or federal agents of any type.

I find this information useful toward putting the debate about America’s growing “police state” in context. No, we don’t live in communities dominated by police presence. We aren’t even close to the most heavily-policed society in the world. This has nothing to say about growing police budgets and militarized police forces, of course. It simply puts specific numbers to an issue often discussed in overly- and unhelpfully-general terms.