BJS: Bureau of Justice Statistics

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Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
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Law Enforcement
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About this Topic

“Law enforcement” is the term that describes the individuals and agencies responsible for enforcing laws and maintaining public order and public safety. Law enforcement includes the prevention, detection, and investigation of crime and the apprehension and detention of individuals suspected of law violation.

The BJS Law Enforcement Unit maintains more than a dozen national data collections covering federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and special topics in law enforcement. Most data series are collected every 2 to 4 years and focus on aggregate or agency-level responses, meaning the information that is collected pertains to units, such as police departments, training academies, and crime labs. The data from law enforcement agencies provide national estimates for personnel, equipment, operations, agency policies, budgets, and job functions across agencies. The Law Enforcement Unit collects data on contacts between the public and police, special units within law enforcement agencies, and trends in police organization.

About the Webpage

This website is organized so that specific types of agencies and issues related to law enforcement can be accessed through designated links. Each webpage provides a brief description of the topic and highlights key findings from our most current reports. More detailed information is available in our full reports, which can be retrieved through links in the Publications and Products section of the webpage. In addition to our most current publications, reports from earlier administrations of the series and supporting materials are provided when available. Codebooks displaying both detailed information about the data collection process and notable features of the data, survey instruments, and actual data files are available electronically and can be obtained through links in the Data Collection and Surveys section of the webpage. A complete listing of our core and supplementary data collections is available below.

Data Collections & Surveys

Publications & Products


Local Police Departments, 2013: Equipment and Technology Presents findings on local police departments by population served in 2013, including comparisons with previous survey years.
  Press Release (8KB) | Summary (PDF 243KB) | PDF (640KB) | ASCII file (25KB) | Comma-delimited format (.csv) (Zip format 38KB)
Part of the Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics Series

Local Police Departments, 2013: Equipment and Technology AN ESTIMATED 32 PERCENT OF LOCAL POLICE DEPARTMENTS WERE USING BODY-WORN CAMERAS IN 2013
  Press Release

Local Police Departments, 2013: Personnel, Policies, and Practices Presents findings on local police departments by population served in 2013, including comparisons with previous surveys dating back to 1987.
  Press Release | Executive Summary (PDF 85K) | PDF (751K) | ASCII file (36K) | Comma-delimited format (.csv) (Zip format 46K)
Part of the Local Police Departments Series

Arrest-Related Deaths Program Assessment: Technical Report Provides a technical assessment of the coverage of the Arrest-Related Deaths (ARD) component of the Deaths in Custody Reporting Program (DCRP).
  PDF (1.4M) | ASCII file (114K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 37M)
Part of the Arrest-Related Deaths Series

Arrest-Related Deaths Program: Data Quality Profile Provides a data quality profile of the Arrest-Related Deaths (ARD) component of the Deaths in Custody Reporting Program (DCRP).
  PDF (609K) | ASCII file (65K) | Zip format (59K)
Part of the Arrest-Related Deaths Series

Campus Law Enforcement, 2011-12 Presents findings from a BJS survey of campus law enforcement agencies covering the 2011-12 academic year.
  Press Release | PDF (909K) | ASCII file (47K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 37K)
Part of the Campus Law Enforcement Series

Police Behavior during Traffic and Street Stops, 2011 STUDY FINDS SOME RACIAL DIFFERENCES IN PERCEPTIONS OF POLICE BEHAVIOR DURING CONTACT WITH THE PUBLIC
  Press Release

Requests for Police Assistance, 2011 STUDY FINDS SOME RACIAL DIFFERENCES IN PERCEPTIONS OF POLICE BEHAVIOR DURING CONTACT WITH THE PUBLIC
 

Requests for Police Assistance, 2011 Examines the characteristics and experiences of persons age 16 or older who contacted police to request assistance in 2011.
  Press Release | PDF (952K) | ASCII file (23K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 33K)

Police Behavior during Traffic and Street Stops, 2011 Examines the characteristics and experiences of persons age 16 or older who were stopped by police during traffic and street stops, and their perceptions of police behavior and response during these encounters.
  Press Release | PDF (1.8M) | ASCII file (52K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 64K)

Terms & Definitions

Chemical agents A chemical compound which has deleterious effects on human health. There are a number of different types of chemical agents, and a range of uses for these compounds, from crowd control to chemical warfare.
 
Cross deputization agreements Allow law enforcement personnel from state and tribal entities to cross jurisdictions in criminal cases. Cross deputization agreements have been used to enhance law enforcement capabilities in areas were state and tribal lands were contiguous and intermingled. Under some agreements, federal, state, county/local, and/or tribal law enforcement officers have the power to arrest Indian and non-Indian wrongdoers wherever the violation of law occurs.
 
DNA The abbreviation for deoxyribonucleic acid, which is the genetic material present in the cells of all living organisms. DNA is the fundamental building block for an individual's entire genetic makeup. A person's DNA is the same in every cell (with a nucleus). DNA is contained in blood, semen, skin cells, tissue, organs, muscle, brain cells, bone, teeth, hair, saliva, mucus, perspiration, fingernails, urine, feces, etc.
 
Law enforcement The generic name for the activities of the agencies responsible for maintaining public order and enforcing the law, particularly the activities of prevention, detection, and investigation of crime and the apprehension of criminals.
 
Less-lethal weapons Less-lethal technologies give police an alternative to lethal force. These weapons are especially valuable when lethal force┬┐(1) is not necessary, (2) is justified and available for backup, but lesser force may resolve the situation, (3) is justified, but its use could cause serious injury to bystanders or other unacceptable collateral effects. The weapons currently in use include : chemical agents, batons, soft projectiles, and electrical devices such as stun guns and Tasers.
 
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