A recent Bloomberg News analysis shows that national police department headcounts are higher than they were 15 years ago, even with staffing levels dropping during the pandemic, Sarah Holder and Fola Akinnibi report for Bloomberg News. FBI data shows that police staffing levels in over half of the 20 largest U.S. cities grew between 2011 and 2019. Still, the pandemic has created new challenges for police hiring and retention, as well as a decrease in public sentiment towards law enforcement.
Staffing concerns at departments across the country are coinciding with budget constraints across many local governments, making it difficult for police departments to grow. According to Bloomberg’s analysis, while police headcounts have either grown or remained largely stable in major departments across the country over the last decade, recent increases in workload have led to complaints that officers are overworked and underpaid.