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FAST FACTS: 45 Facts About Police Officers

 

  • Only around 1/3 of a police officer’s time is spent actually enforcing criminal law; most of the work of a police officer involves peacekeeping, order maintenance, and problem solving.[14]
  • American law enforcement agents only solve around 21% of all reported crime.[14]
  • Although law enforcement agencies were organized in England in the 13th century, the first modern police officers operated in London starting in 1829.[14]
  • American police officers are organized locally, whereas police forces in Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America are nationally organized.[14]
  • The United States has roughly 18,000 separate law enforcement agencies, all of which operate largely independent of each other.[14]
  • Police officers in England are sometimes called “Bobbies,” in honor of Sir Robert Peel, the founder of their modern police force.[14]

 

If it works…

 

  • Police officers in Thailand can be forced to wear Hello Kitty armbands as punishment for infractions such as illegal parking or showing up to work late.[9]
  • In the American colonies, law enforcement initially took the form of “the watch,” a group of adult males that patrolled cities on the lookout for fires and crimes. Originally, all male citizens of a city were expected to take their turn as watchmen, but gradually it became a paid professional position.[14]
  • The Japanese police experimented with a device called a Motorcycle Arresting Device to snare members of biker gangs.[13]
  • During the early years of America, many southern states created “slave patrols” meant to prevent slave revolts and catch runaways. The Charleston slave patrol employed around 100 officers—far more officers than any northern police force of the time.[14]
  • In colonial America, law enforcement officers were not very effective at apprehending criminals, due to a lack of authority and personnel. It was far more common for a church congregation to hold a trial in order to “catch” criminals.[14]
  • Many American police forces were initially created in the 1830s in response to a wave of riots that broke out in Boston, Philadelphia, New York, Cincinnati, Detroit, and several other cities.[14]
  • Twelve percent of the law enforcement officers in the United States are women.[8]

 

Women have helped to serve and protect in the United States for over 120 years

 

  • There are currently 900,000 law enforcement officers serving in the Unites States. This is the largest number of officers ever employed at one time.[8]
  • Over 21,000 law enforcement officers have died in the line of duty since America’s founding.[8]
  • In 2017, 129 law enforcement officers were killed in the United States.[8]
  • The year 1930 was the deadliest year in American history for law enforcement officers; 310 officers were killed in the line of duty.[8]
  • The most officers to die in a single day in America died during the September 11 attacks of 2001. Seventy-two officers died responding to the emergency.[8]

 

A woman’s touch makes things run more smoothly

 

  • Some police forces purposely assign at least one woman to their SWAT teams, so that their male counterparts will have a “den mother” to counteract some of the more violent tendencies of men.[5]
  • The state with the fewest law enforcement officer deaths is Vermont, at a total of only 23. Texas has the most officer deaths, having lost 1,731 officers since becoming a state.[8]
  • The first known female police officer in the United States was Marie Owens, who was appointed to serve in Chicago in 1890.[1]
  • The city having the most officers lost in the line of duty is New York City, with a total of 833 deaths.[8]
  • Nine female officers were killed in the line of duty in America in 2017.[8]

 

Every time I teach a policing class, I ask who in the classroom has ever reached into their pocket while on duty and given someone money for food, gas, or shelter. All of the hands go up.

– Rex Caldwell, Retired Police Chief of Mukilteo, Washington

 

  • The first Latina policewoman, Josephine Serrano, joined the Los Angeles Police Department in 1946.[1]
  • Over the past decade, Friday has been the most common day for felonies to be committed that resulted in officer deaths. Tuesday is the day with the fewest fatal incidents.[8]

Police Robert Peel

 

In addition to starting the British police, Peel served twice as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

 

  • The father of modern policing is Sir Robert Peel, who spent 30 years fighting for the establishment of the London Metropolitan Police in the early 1800s.[14]
  • Police report receiving far more violent threats over the last several years than ever before.[5]
  • According to the Supreme Court of the United States, only another officer with similar training is in a position to judge whether an officer has used excessive force.[5]
  • Police in Tucson, Arizona, formed a special unit to deal with mentally ill criminals. The unit has served over 1,500 commitment orders to mentally disturbed offenders, only twice needing to use force.[5]
  • The first recorded American police officer to die in the line of duty was killed in 1791.[8]
  • The police force in New London, Connecticut, refuses to hire applicants who score too high on an IQ test, due to a worry that above-average intelligence leads to dissatisfaction with police work.[3]
  • While police in the United States cannot make an arrest without probable cause and the intent to prosecute, police in most European countries are empowered to make arrests based solely on suspicion.[10]
  • Shaquille O’Neal is currently a deputy marshal in Lafayette, Louisiana, a reserve officer in Florida, and a sheriff’s deputy in Clayton County, Georgia. O’Neal has also expressed interest in running for the office of sheriff in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2020.[2]
  • In 1916, Georgia Ann Robinson became the first African American policewoman.[1]
  • Myrtle Siler, the first female sheriff in the United States, was elected in 1920 in Pittsboro, North Carolina.[1]

 

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police were formed in 1920

 

  • The Royal Canadian Mounted Police provide police services to every province across Canada except Quebec and Ontario.[10]
  • Nearly 90% of London’s police officers don’t carry firearms.[12]
  • In a 12-month period beginning in March of 2015, police in Wales and England only fired a total of seven bullets, resulting in only five fatalities.[12]
  • Police in the United States fatally shot a total of 1,092 people in 2016.[12]
  • In 2004, the president of the Republic of Georgia fired the nation’s entire traffic police force, 30,000 officers, in an effort to combat corruption.[11]
  • Some Japanese police officers carry paintball guns with bright orange paintballs to mark fleeing criminals’ vehicles.[13]
  • A police department in Flint, Michigan, staged a fake wedding between two undercover cops. They invited dozens of suspects to the sting wedding, making over 30 arrests.[3]

 

How do you spell entrapment?

 

  • Until recently, police officers in Hawaii were allowed to have sex with prostitutes during the course of undercover sting operations.[6]
  • Police officers are at a higher risk for suicide than the general population.[4]
  • Police agencies in the Southern United States and those that employ a large number of women report more police officers being murdered by violent felons.[7]

 

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