Portland, Or., has fewer police officers per city resident and fewer minority officers than most other law enforcement agencies its size, a new national survey shows, the Oregonian reports. The city had 16 sworn officers per 10,000 residents in 2012, according to the national survey released last week by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Forty-four other major police departments had higher ratios. Washington, D.C., was No. 1 in staffing with 61 sworn officers per 10,000 residents, said the 2013 Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics Survey.
Most of the departments with more police per capita had higher violent crime rates, but not in every case. There were more officers per capita in Austin, Tx.; Honolulu; and Columbus, Oh., but they had lower violent crime rates than Portland. Deanna Mitchell-Wesson, policy director for Mayor Charlie Hales, described the officer-per-resident ratio as “an easy and consistent number to measure across locales, but it does not take other key matters into consideration, including: community expectations for policing practices, level of community of engagement desired, the number of calls for service, and geography.”