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Number of law enforcement officers U.S. 2004-2019

How many police officers are there in the U.S.?

In 2019, there were 697,195 full-time law enforcement officers employed in the United States. The number of full-time law enforcement officers reached a peak in 2008 with 708,569 officers, and hit a low in 2013 with 626,942 officers.

Employment in law enforcement

According to the source, law enforcement officers are defined as those individuals who regularly carry a firearm and an official badge on their person, have full powers of arrest, and whose salaries are paid from federal funds set aside specifically for sworn law enforcement. Law enforcement, particularly when it comes to officers, is a male-dominated field. Law enforcement employees can either be officers or civilians, and federal law enforcement agencies cover a wide area of jurisdictions -- from the National Park Service to the FBI.

Police in the United States

The police in the United States have come under fire over the past few years for accusations of use of unnecessary force and for the number of people who are shot to death by police in the U.S. Police officers in the United States are regularly armed, and in comparison, 19 countries, including Iceland, New Zealand, and Ireland, do not regularly arm their police forces.

Number of full-time law enforcement officers in the United States from 2004 to 2019

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Release date

September 2020


United States

Survey time period

2004 to 2019

Supplementary notes

The FBI defines law enforcement officers as those who regularly carry a firearm and badge, have full arrest powers, and are paid from governmental funds specifically for sworn law enforcement representatives.

The data from previous years can be accessed here by clicking on the required year, Police Employee Tables, and National Data.

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