Police Department Race and Ethnicity Demographic Data

Despite efforts to become more diverse, minorities remain underrepresented to varying degrees in the vast majority of larger police departments throughout the country. Particularly in jurisdictions experiencing rapid demographic shifts, police largely do not reflect the racial and ethnic makeup of their communities.

Select a jurisdiction to compare police demographic data, current as of 2013, with Census population estimates. Data is shown for all departments serving as primary law enforcement agencies in areas with populations exceeding 100,000.

Methodology

Governing analyzed police personnel data for 269 departments serving as primary local law enforcement agencies for areas with populations exceeding 100,000. Most were city departments, although some county police departments and metropolitan area agencies were also included. Data was obtained from the 2013 Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS) survey conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Reported figures in the survey only reflect full-time sworn officers. These were compared with demographic estimates for the total population of corresponding communities from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010-2013 American Community Survey. Census population estimates for some smaller municipalities within larger jurisdictions reviewed were subtracted if they had their own police departments. Officers categorized with an unknown race in the LEMAS survey were excluded from all calculations. All references to white demographic groups refer to non-Hispanic whites.

Excluded Agencies: Most, but not all, law enforcement agencies participate in the LEMAS survey. Some participating agencies did not report race and ethnicity personnel totals. These include police departments for Carlsbad, Calif.; Lawton, Okla.; Killeen, Texas; Maui County, Hawaii; Mesquite, Texas; Murrieta, Calif.; Santa Rosa, Calif.; Sparks, Nev.; Redding, Calif.; Reno, Nev.; and Roseville, Calif. The Boulder, Colo., and Huntington Beach, Calif., police departments did not classify more than 20 percent of sworn personnel. Some police departments not responsible for policing approximately 10 percent or more of a locality’s residents were also excluded if comparable demographic data were unavailable.