Police Shortage in the Golden State?


Police forces are shrinking in the majority of California's large and mid-size cities, while the state's corrections staff is rapidly expanding, according to a new fact sheet by Barry Krisberg and Susan Marchionna of the University of California, Berkeley School of Law.

Data compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation shows a decline in total police officers in California's 25 largest cities between 2008 and 2011, from 23,355 to 22,129. An informal telephone poll found continued declines in 9 out of 11 cities in 2012.

“The losses in numbers of officers on the street are a result of layoffs and cutbacks as well as attrition through retirement or other departures,” the sheet's authors wrote.

While law enforcement staffing is on the decline in California, the state has steadily increased its budget for corrections, which has seen an increase from 53,688 positions during fiscal year 2011-2012 to a projected 59,736 during fiscal year 2013-2014. The budget for corrections staff has increased, but budget cuts to parole agencies means the state is paying less for certain types of corrections supervision.

The authors note that FBI data showed an increase in violent, property crime or both, in 2012. However, they caution that “crime rates are affected by a complex set of factors; therefore, their relationship to numbers of police officers is not entirely clear.”

Read the fact sheet HERE.

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