Minority Numbers In Policing Nearly Double Over 20 Years


Racial or ethnic minorities accounted for 27 percent of local U.S. police officers in 2013, a slight increase from 25 percent in 2007 and up from about 15 percent in 1987, the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics said today. About 130,000 minority local police officers were employed in 2013, an increase of about 13,000 since 2007 and 78,000 since 1987. Hispanics or Latinos accounted for 60 percent of the increase since 2007. An estimated 12 percent of officers were Hispanic or Latino in 2013, more than double the estimated 5 percent in 1987.

Black officers made up about 12 percent of local police officers in 2013, up from about 9 percent in 1987. The total percentage of black officers is slightly below the percentage of blacks in the overall U.S. population. In general, departments in larger jurisdictions were more diverse than those in smaller ones. The number and percentage of full-time sworn female officers also increased since 1987. About 58,000 women were employed as local police officers in 2013, compared to about 27,000 in 1987. This was an increase from an estimated 5 percent to 12 percent of officers during the period. In addition, nearly one in 10 first-line supervisors in local police departments were female. An estimated 3 percent of local police chiefs were female. About half of local police departments employed fewer than 10 officers.

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