BJS: Bureau of Justice Statistics

clear image
Home  |  About Us  |  Contact Us  |  Help  |  A-Z Topic List
 
 
Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
clear image
Home | Law Enforcement
Law Enforcement
On This Page
About this Topic

Law enforcement 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 Bureau of Justice Statistics' 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 collections are conducted 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.

Data Collections & Surveys

Publications & Products


Body-Worn Cameras in Law Enforcement Agencies, 2016 Presents data on body-worn camera (BWCs) use and non-use in general-purpose law enforcement agencies for 2016.
  Press Release | Summary (PDF 209K) | Full report (PDF 484K) | Data tables (Zip format 29K)

Contacts Between Police and the Public, 2015 Presents data on the nature and frequency of contact between police and U.S. residents age 16 or older, including demographic characteristics of residents, the reason for and outcomes of the contact, police threats or use of nonfatal force, and residents' perceptions of police behavior during the contact.
  Press Release | Summary (PDF 124K) | Full report (PDF 577K) | Data table (Zip format 49K)
Part of the Contacts between Police and the Public Series

National Crime Statistics Exchange (NCS-X) Initiative JUSTICE DEPARTMENT AWARDS $49 MILLION TO IMPROVE COLLECTION OF CRIME DATA REPORTED TO POLICE
  Press Release

Full-Time Employees in Law Enforcement Agencies, 1997-2016 Presents counts of full-time employees in general-purpose law enforcement agencies for 2016, with comparisons to prior years.
  Full report (PDF 325K) | Data tables (Zip format 7K)
Part of the Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics Series

Police Vehicle Pursuits, 2012-2013 Presents data on police vehicle pursuits and pursuit-related policies, including the number of police vehicle pursuits conducted by general purpose state and local law enforcement agencies in 2012, and the types of written pursuit-related policies maintained by these agencies as of January 2013.
  Press Release | Summary (PDF 184K) | PDF (851K) | ASCII file (33KB) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 45K)
Part of the Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics Series

Police Response to Domestic Violence, 2006-2015 Presents 2006-15 data on nonfatal domestic violence victimizations reported to police, the police response to these victimizations, the prevalence of related arrests or charges, and criminal complaints signed against the offender.
  Press Release | Summary (PDF 187K) | PDF (1.07M) | ASCII file (37K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format)

Police-Public Contact Survey: Assessment and Recommendations for Producing Trend Estimates after 2011 Questionnaire Redesign This research and development paper describes changes to the 2011 Police-Public Contact Survey (PPCS) and its impact on estimating trends.
  PDF (654K)

Publicly Funded Forensic Crime Laboratories: Resources and Services, 2014 Presents data on the resources and services of state, county, municipal, and federal forensic crime laboratories operating in the United States during 2014 and compares findings with census data from previous years.
  Press Release | Summary (PDF 246K) | PDF (600K) | ASCII file (31K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 21K)
Part of the Census of Publicly Funded Forensic Crime Laboratories Series

Publicly Funded Forensic Crime Laboratories: Quality Assurance Practices, 2014 Presents data on the quality assurance practices of state, county, municipal, and federal forensic crime laboratories operating in the United States during 2014 and compares findings with census data from previous years.
  Press Release | Summary (PDF 255K) | PDF (672K) | ASCII file (29K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 16K)
Part of the Census of Publicly Funded Forensic Crime Laboratories Series

National Crime Statistics Exchange (NCS-X) Initiative FBI and Bureau of Justice Statistics award $24.2 Million to Law Enforcement Agencies To Support National Crime-Reporting Infrastructure—Funding is part of the 2016 National Crime Statistics Exchange initiative.
  Press Release

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, or (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.
 
Related Links