Police Hiring Begins to Increase Again

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Many local police departments across the U.S. have also been staffing up for the first time in several years, reports Governing, citing the latest FBI statistics. Among big-city departments, Detroit, Newark, and Philadelphia all experienced large increases in total personnel between 2015 and 2016. Of larger departments with at least 500 personnel, the top 10 reported year-over-year increases between 6 and 37 percent. Like other areas of government, many police departments incurred cutbacks during and after the recession. Some are still feeling the downturn’s effects, which has impeded hiring efforts. In addition to lingering tight budgets, departments are also facing accelerating retirements or recruiting shortages.

Police departments recorded an aggregate uptick in personnel of 1 percent when staffing totals for all agencies reporting data to the FBI in both 2015 and 2016 are compared. While that’s not much, it does represent a slight increase from recent years. Departments may be able to boost their ranks for a number of reasons. Darrel Stephens, former director of the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association, says recovering finances is likely one reason. “It probably has more to do with growth in cities than anything,” he says. Cities experiencing spikes in crime may have allocated additional funds for police as well. Where additional hiring has occurred, many of the new employees are likely filling civilian positions cut during the recession. The Census Bureau’s annual survey of employment and payroll suggests non-sworn police employees were among the hardest hit of any area of local government.

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