When it comes to how many police officers a community should have, is there a right number?
There are no federal or state — or even local — mandates for how many officers provide optimal protection and service. The International Association of Chiefs of Police in a recent patrol staffing and deployment study states plainly:
"Ready-made, universally applicable patrol staffing standards do not exist. Ratios, such as officers-per-thousand population, are totally inappropriate as a basis for staffing decisions."
Instead, the study says needs should be determined by a number of different factors, including:
- Number of calls for service
- Population size, density and composition
- Citizen demands for protective services
- Municipal resources
Use this searchable database on Patch to compare the police staffing levels in other communities of similar population size in Wisconsin.
Data is from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's annual Crime in the United States report, which incorporates information reported to the FBI by law enforcement agencies. This report covers 2011.
Brookfield police calls up; staffing unchanged
The database shows Brookfield has 81 law enforcement employees — 64 sworn officers and 17 civilians. That translates to a ratio of 1.68 officers per 1,000 residents.
Of course, Brookfield's population roughly doubles during the daytime hours when its commercial areas are full of non-resident workers, shoppers, diners and hotel guests.
Unlike some other communities with similar population, Brookfield has more retail, which can translate to more calls for service.
According to the city's 2013 adopted budget, the city's calls for services have risen from 29,432 in 2009 to 32,763 in 2011 and a projected 33,000 by year-end of 2012. The number of Brookfield police officers have been unchanged during that time.
Brookfield has 42 police officers, eight detectives, six sergeants, five lieutenants, two captains, an assistant police chief and a police chief, according to the city budget.
Neighboring Wauwatosa — which has an even larger population and commercial / medical centers, there are 115 law enforcement employees — 92 sworn officers and 23 civilians. That translates to a ratio of 1.97 officers per 1,000 residents.
The database said Menomonee Falls has 78 law enforcement employees (58 sworn and 20 civilian) for a ratio of 1.62 officers per 1,000 residents. New Berlin had 84 (68 and 16) for a ratio of 1.71.LAW ENFORCEMENT STAFFING
Officers per 1,000 peopleCommunityTotal law enforcement employeesTotal officersTotal civilians3.33 Glendale 47 43 4 3.12 Milwaukee 2,586 1,862 7242.85Elm Grove251782.14 West Allis 155 130 25 1.97 Wauwatosa 115 92 23 1.71 New Berlin 84 68 161.68Brookfield8164171.68 Oak Creek 79 58 21 1.65 Waukesha 149 117 32 1.62 Menomonee Falls 78 58 20 1.57 Greenfield 77 58 19 1.56 Mt. Pleasant 45 41 4 Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation's 2011 Crime in the United States