Sworn law enforcement officers generally receive training throughout their careers, beginning with basic training for entry-level recruits, followed by in-service training. Basic law enforcement training academies are operated by state-level organizations such as—
- Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) entities
- state police or highway patrols
- local law enforcement agencies such as sheriff’s offices and county or municipal police departments
- and academic institutions such as 2- and 4-year colleges.
BJS surveys basic law enforcement training academies in its Census of Law Enforcement Training Academies (CLETA), which collects data from all state and local academies that provided basic training for newly hired or appointed law enforcement officers. In addition to general characteristics about academies, CLETA collects information on recruits, personnel, facilities, resources, core subjects, and special topics curricula of basic training.
As part of its surveys of law enforcement agencies, particularly its Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS) survey, BJS collects data on the amount of annual in-service training required of sworn personnel.
According to the 2020 BJS Law Enforcement and Management Administrative Statistics (LEMAS) survey, departments serving 100,000 to 249,999 and 50,000 to 99,999 residents had the lowest average ratio (1.6 officers per 1,000 residents). Departments serving populations of 1 million or more had 3.0 officers per 1,000 residents.
State and local general-purpose law enforcement agencies employed about 708,200 full-time sworn officers as of December 31, 2020. Approximately 11,800 local police departments employed 473,100 (67%) of these offices, sheriffs’ offices about 173,900 (25%), and state law enforcement agencies about 61,200 (9%).
No, some sheriff's office personnel are not sworn officers. While sheriffs' offices employed about 174,000 full-time sworn officers in 2020, some personnel had limited or no arrest authority. Sheriffs' deputies who work in jails, courtrooms, and the civil process department often do not attend police academies and do not have general arrest authority. These personnel may be civilian employees or deputies who attend specialized training for their duties. In 2020, the nation's sheriffs' offices employed about 191,000 full-time civilian employees.