When it comes to how many police officers a community should have, is there a right number?
Federal statistics show the Shorewood Police Department was near the middle of the pack in terms of staffing ratios among North Shore police forces in 2011.
With 24 police officers serving a community of 13,219 people, the police department staffed 1.82 officers for every 1,000 people living in the village in 2011. That ratio was slightly above neighboring Whitefish Bay — a village of 14,171 that also staffs 24 officers.
Use this searchable database on Patch to find the different populations of municipalities across Wisconsin and see how your town ranks with police protection.
Here's a breakdown of staffing at North Shore police departments and Milwaukee:Municipality Officer ratio Population Law enforcement employees Officers Shorewood 1.82 13,219 29 24 Whitefish Bay 1.69
14,171 26 24 Fox Point 2.53 6,730 18 17 Bayside 2.95 4,408 20 13 Glendale 3.33 12,928 43 47 Mequon 1.51 23,233 35 43 Milwaukee 3.12 597,426 2,586 1,862
There are no federal or state — or even local — mandates for how many officers provide optimal protection and service.
"Ready-made, universally applicable patrol staffing standards do not exist," The International Association of Chiefs of Police states in a recent patrol staffing and deployment study. "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
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.