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Why are there fewer police officers in the U.S.?

Written by Kate Sweigart, Associate Producer | Mar 6, 2019 4:36 AM
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What to look for on Smart Talk Wednesday, March 6, 2019:

The number of police officers across the country is shrinking. There are more than 20,000 fewer cops on the streets today than there were in 2013.

According to recent findings from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, "the U.S. population has risen from 267 million in 1997 to 323 million in 2016," but the number of full-time police officers has declined to 701,000 after peaking at 725,000 in 2013.

Many police officers have retired or left law enforcement and not enough replacements have been recruited. Several reasons have been cited for the decline, including young people not wanting to face the scrutiny that today's police are under.

As retention rates continue to fall, local police forces are finding recruitment of minority populations challenging. Recruiting female officers is especially difficult, and Pennsylvania falls below the national average for minority recruitment. 

What is causing the overall national decline and how is it impacting female and minority recruitment?

Joining us on Wednesday's Smart Talk to discuss the falling number of police officers are Deputy Chief Deric Moody, Harrisburg City Bureau of Police and Detective Sergeant Lisa Layden, Southwestern Regional Police in York County. Also joining us is Lt. Robert Bailey, of the Recruitment Services Section of the Pennsylvania State Police.

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Detective Sergeant Lisa Layden, Southwestern Regional Police Department in York County, and Deputy Chief Deric Moody, Harrisburg Bureau of Police.


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