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In 2018, 86% of recruits completed basic training and 14% did not. Among the basic training outcomes measured, 4% of recruits did not complete basic training in 2018 because they voluntarily withdrew from their program, and 7% did not complete basic training for involuntary reasons (such as injury or illness, failure to qualify, or being withdrawn by their sponsoring agency). Eighty-eight percent of male recruits completed basic training in 2018, compared to 81% of female recruits.
In 2018, about 70% of training academies had a minimum law enforcement experience requirement for full-time instructors. Among academies with a minimum experience requirement, the average was about 4 years. Overall, a quarter of training academies reported that full-time instructors must have a 2-year college degree or higher degree. In addition to law enforcement experience and education requirements, most academies required full-time instructors to have state or POST certification (86%), qualified subject matter expertise (67%), academy certification (57%), or some other certification (35%).
The average length of basic training for all state and local law enforcement academies in 2018 was 833 hours. Of all state and local academies, 83% reported that field training was mandatory for some or all recruits after they completed basic training. Of academies that oversaw field training, the average length of that training was 508 hours. In 2018, the highest average number of hours of instruction was dedicated to firearms skills (73 hours), followed by defensive tactics (61) and patrol procedures (52). Nearly all recruits were instructed in legal subjects in 2018, receiving about 51 hours of instruction in criminal and constitutional law, 26 hours in traffic law, and 11 hours in juvenile justice law.
Females made up 14% of full-time sworn officers employed by sheriffs' offices in 2016. As of June 30, 2016, .9% of sheriffs were female, including about 11% of sheriffs in offices of 500 or more full-time-equivalent sworn officers. Among all sheriffs' offices, females held about 12% of first-line supervisory positions in 2016.
One difference between a sheriffs' office and police department is the jurisdiction that each type of agency covers. While both sheriffs' offices and police departments are law enforcement agencies, sheriffs' offices have countywide jurisdiction and police departments' authority is limited to specific cities, municipalities, towns, or villages. In addition, sheriffs' offices are generally empowered by the state to serve counties and independent cities, while police departments are established under municipal regulations. The head of a sheriffs' office is a sheriff who is usually an elected official. The head of a police department is usually the chief, who is typically appointed by a government entity, such as mayor, city manager, or a commissioner.