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Sheriffs' Office Personnel, 1993-2013

ADVANCE FOR RELEASE AT 10:00 A.M. EDT Bureau of Justice Statistics
THURSDAY, JUNE 16, 2016 Contact: Kara McCarthy (202) 307-1241
WWW.BJS.GOV After hours: (202) 598-9320
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WASHINGTON – Between 1993 and 2013, the number of full-time employees in U.S. sheriffs' offices increased 57 percent, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. On January 1, 2013, a total of 3,012 sheriffs' offices employed an estimated 189,000 full-time sworn officers (those with general arrest powers) and 163,000 full-time nonsworn or civilian employees.

In 2013 sheriffs' offices accounted for a fifth (20 percent) of the nation's 15,400 general purpose state and local law enforcement agencies and employed about a third (34 percent) of all full-time sworn and civilian personnel.

Sheriffs' offices are local law enforcement agencies typically directed by an elected official and organized at the county level. They perform a wide range of law enforcement functions, such as responding to criminal incidents and calls for service. Most also operate local jails and provide court-related services.

Much of the increase in full-time personnel in sheriffs' offices during the previous two decades ending in 2013 can be attributed to the overall growth in the number of full-time civilian employees hired since 1993. Full-time civilian employees increased by 138 percent (up 94,500) from 1993 to 2013, while the number of full-time sworn personnel increased by 21 percent (up 33,100) during the same period.

However, during a more recent period from 2007 to 2013, the number of full-time sworn employees increased by 16,700 employees (up 10 percent) while the number of full-time civilian personnel decreased by 11,100 employees (down 6 percent). Also, part-time sworn sheriffs' personnel increased 40 percent from 2007 to 2013.

In 2013, 12 percent of sheriffs' offices employed 100 or more full-time sworn officers, compared to 10 percent in 1993. Small sheriffs' offices with the equivalent of 24 or fewer full-time sworn officers declined from 62 percent of sheriffs' offices in 1993 to 51 percent in 2013.

Similar to previous years, in 2013 most sheriffs' office personnel worked for large agencies with 100 or more full-time equivalent sworn personnel. These large agencies employed 65 percent each of full-time sworn officers (123,700) and full-time civilian employees (105,400).

In 2013, full-time sworn female officers made up about 14 percent of full-time sworn sheriffs' offices personnel. From 2007 to 2013, the number of full-time sworn female officers increased 25 percent, from about 20,800 to 26,100. Females held 12 percent of full-time first-line supervisory positions in 2013—the first time BJS's Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics survey collected data on female personnel in supervisory and managerial positions.

Among full-time sworn personnel in sheriffs' offices in 2013, 78 percent were white, 11 percent were Hispanic, 9 percent were black and 2 percent were American Indian/Alaska Native; Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; and persons of two or more races. Minority officers increased from 17 percent of full-time sworn personnel in 1993 to 22 percent in 2013. Much of this growth was due to the increase in Hispanic officers, from 13,900 in 2007 to 19,400 in 2013. The number of full-time sworn black officers increased from 15,600 in 2007 to 16,600 in 2013. Sheriffs' offices employed more full-time Hispanic officers than black officers for the first time in 2013.

The report, Sheriffs' Office Personnel, 1993–2013 (NCJ 249757), was written by BJS statistician Andrea M. Burch. The report, related documents and additional information about BJS's statistical publications and programs can be found on the BJS website at https://www.bjs.gov.

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The Office of Justice Programs (OJP), headed by Assistant Attorney General Karol V. Mason, provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP has six components: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. More information about OJP can be found at http://www.ojp.gov.


Date Published: June 16, 2016