BJS: Bureau of Justice Statistics

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Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
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Community Policing
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Police and citizens often come into contact with each other for reasons other than criminal investigation. In addition to enforcing criminal law, police officers often engage in community service. Community service may include providing information and/or assistance to people in need, as well as offering youth education and coordinating community outreach efforts. In many communities, police officers network to establish partnerships between residents and the law enforcement agency. Community-oriented policing seeks to address the causes of crime and to reduce fear of social disorder through problem-solving strategies and police- community partnerships. Typically, it involves a greater use of foot and bicycle patrols and frequent meetings with community groups.

Summary findings

  • In 2003, 58% of all departments, employing 82% of officers, used full-time community policing officers during 2003.  Collectively, there were about 54,800 local police officers designated as community police officers.
  • Sixty percent of departments, including more than 80% of those serving 25,000 or more residents, had problem-solving partnerships or written agreements with community groups, local agencies, or others in 2003.
  • Forty-three percent of departments, employing 74% of all officers, used full-time school-resource officers in 2003.  Collectively, these agencies employed about 14,300 such officers.
  • Seventy-four percent of local police departments in 2003 provided crime prevention education to citizens.  About two-thirds (65%) of departments provided animal control services in 2003.  Other special public safety functions included school crossing services (42%), emergency medical services (26%), civil defense (19%), and fire services (10%).
  • Overall, 37% of residents in 12 cities reported seeing police talking with residents in their neighborhood and 24% of respondents reporting seeing police facilitating crime watch and prevention activities.

Data Collections & Surveys

Publications & Products


Local Police Departments, 2003 Full-time employment by local police departments, 1987-2003 Local Police Departments, 2003 Full-time employment by local police departments, 1987-2003
  Spreadsheet (1K)

Average base starting salary for entry-level officers in local police departments, 2000 and 2003 Figure 7 from Local Police Departments, 2003
  Download CSV file (Data Table 1 KB)

State and Local Law Enforcement Training Academies, 2006 Presents findings from the 2006 BJS Census of Law Enforcement Training Academies, updating the results of the initial census conducted in 2002.
  Press Release | PDF (163K) | ASCII file (31K) | Spreadsheet (Zip format 27K) | To order paper version

Contacts between Police and the Public, 2005 "Police stop white, black and Hispanic drivers at similar rates according to Department of Justice report"
  Press Release | More information about this release

Contacts between Police and the Public, 2005 Presents data over a 12-month period on the nature and characteristics of face-to-face contacts between residents of the U.S. and the police. The report also provides demographic and other characteristics of residents involved in traffic stops and use of force incidents.
  Press Release | PDF (305K) | ASCII file (32K) | Spreadsheet (Zip format 21K) | To order paper version
Part of the Contacts between Police and the Public Series

Female and minority local police officers, 1987 and 2003 Figure 3 from Local Police Departments, 2003
  Download CSV file (Data Table 1 KB)

Special public safety functions of local police departments, by size of population served, 2003 Table 36 from Local Police Departments, 2003
  Data Table (2 KB)

Local Police Departments, 2003 Presents data collected from a representative sample of local police department nationwide on a variety of agency characteristics based on the 2003 Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS) survey.
  PDF (844K) | ASCII file (34K) | Spreadsheet (Zip format 60K) | Codebooks and Datasets | To order paper version
Part of the Local Police Departments Series

Contacts between Police and Public: Findings from the 2002 National Survey Presents data on the nature and characteristics of contacts between residents of the U.S. and the police over a 12-month period.
  PDF (886K) | ASCII file (62K) | Spreadsheet (Zip format 25K) | To order paper version
Part of the Contacts between Police and the Public Series

State and Local Law Enforcement Training Academies, 2002 Presents data on personnel, facilities and resources, trainees, and training curricula of law enforcement academies in the United States.
  PDF (50K) | ASCII file (638K) | Spreadsheet (Zip format 33K) | Codebooks and Datasets | To order paper version

Terms & Definitions

Community policing A philosophy that promotes organizational strategies, which support the systematic use of partnerships and problem-solving techniques between the police and the community. These strategies proactively address the immediate conditions that give rise to public safety issues such as crime, social disorder, and fear of crime. For more information about community policing please visit the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) website.