Does Waukesha Have Enough Police Officers?

Waukesha has 1.65 officers for every 1,000 people living in the community, while nearby communities have slightly higher staffing levels. Use this searchable database on Patch to see how this compares with others around the state.

Editor's note: Data about staffing comes from information provided from law enforcement agencies to the FBI. Waukesha, however, had 118 officers in 2011 and currently has 116 officers, according to information to the Waukesha Police Department.

When it comes to how many police officers a community should have, is there a right number?

There are no federal or state — or even local — mandates for how many officers provide optimal protection and service. The International Association of Chiefs of Police in a recent patrol staffing and deployment study states plainly:

"Ready-made, universally applicable patrol staffing standards do not exist. Ratios, such as officers-per-thousand population, are totally inappropriate as a basis for staffing decisions."

Instead, the study says needs should be determined by a number of different factors, including:

  • Priorities
  • Number of calls for service
  • Population size, density and composition
  • Citizen demands for protective services
  • Municipal resources

Waukesha employs 117 police officers, which means the staffing level of the city of 71,026 people is 1.65, according to the FBI information.

But how does that compare to our neighbors? The Pewaukee Police Department employs 17 officers and with a population of 8,202 in the village, the staffing level is 2.07 officers per 1,000.  The Brookfield Police Department employs 64 officers for a staffing of 1.68 officers per 1,000. The Wauwatosa Police Department employs 92 officers for a staffing level of 1.97 per 1,000. And Milwaukee, with 1,862 police officers, has a staffing of 3.12 officers per 1,000.

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Use this searchable database on Patch to find the different populations of  municipalities across Wisconsin and see how your town ranks with police protection.

Data is from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's annual Crime in the United States report, which incorporates information reported to the FBI by law enforcement agencies. This report covers 2011.

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