U.S. States With The Smallest Police And Law Enforcement Forces

Picturesque Vermont has fewer law enforcement officials than any other U.S. state.

We have previously highlighted the ten states with the highest numbers of full-time law enforcement employees. Therein, we indicated that the number of full-time law enforcement officers depends upon a variety of factors. From the figures presented, there are indications that the size of a population of a given state directly influences the total number of full-time law enforcement employees. The higher the number of people in a given state, the larger the number of full-time law enforcement employees are as well, at least in most cases. However, there are exceptions, whereby the population of a state could be higher, while still having a relatively low total number of full-time law enforcement officers. In an attempt to understand whether rates of crime are directly proportional to the number of full-time law enforcement officers, a federal report indicated that some of the states that had the fewest full-time law enforcement employee ranked quite high in crime rates relative to those with the most personnel.

Clearly, this indication also points out that the rates of crime do not necessarily form a basis of state recruitment of full-time law enforcement officers. All these contribute to such few numbers of law enforcement officers in a state. The indications pointed out here imply that the states with the fewest employees actually employed more full-time law enforcement employees under the official sworn-in category and fewer on the full-time civilian category. The ratio of males to females in the official categories were typically around 3:1, while the ratios under the civilian full-time law enforcement categories stood at almost 1:2, indicating that there were more female employees in the civilian law enforcement sectors. Although these are merely statistics, they indicate very vital information about the numbers of employees in state governments, including gender balance issues and categories of employment within the public sector, regardless of the number of people in any given state.

10. New Hampshire

At the tenth position is the state of New Hampshire, with a total full-time law enforcement force of 3,401. This number includes 2,583 officially recognizable officers in sworn-in capacities, 818 civilian officers, and 153 agencies. Although these numbers are relatively small, the gender disparity is high, with 2,363 males and only 220 females in the sworn personnel employees. In the civilian sector, there are fewer males, with only 259 employees, compared to approximately 559 female employees. The total population of the state totals to approximately 1.178 million people. New Hampshire is on record as one of the most peaceful states in the US. There are lower violent crime rates here than in any other state in the U.S.

9. Delaware

At the ninth position is Delaware, with 3,243 full-time law enforcement employees in the state. Out of these, there are 1,952 male employees and only 242 females. In the civilian sector, the are 1,049 full-time employees, with 606 females and 443 male employees. The state has only 49 full-time law enforcement agencies. There are approximately 934,360 people in this state. Although perceived as one of the most dangerous states to live in the U.S., Delaware’s small population and its community policing efforts are making it more efficient at handling crime, and thus has fewer numbers of law enforcement.

8. Rhode Island

At position eight we find Rhode Island, with 3,126 full-time law enforcement employees. Among these are included 2,495 officially recognizable officers in sworn-in capacities, 729 full-time civilian law enforcement officers, and 49 full-time law enforcement agencies in the state. The state has only a little over 1 million people. Rhode Island was estimated to have a median income near the national average, besides being one of the most peaceful states in America. Where crime rates are few, median income rates are generally high, and educational standards are excellent, there is a lessened need for increased law enforcement.

7. South Dakota

The seventh position is held by South Dakota, with 2,913 full-time law enforcement employees. Among these are 1,669 sworn-in employees, 1,244 full-time civilian employees, and 141 full-time agencies working within the state. The ratio of females to males in the sworn-in category is 1,560:109, while that of the full-time civilian employees is 546:698 males to females. The state has a relatively low population, with only 850,827 people. The state of South Dakota was voted as one in which the fewest applications for legal work services were filed. This is because the state reportedly pays its legal officers low salaries, discouraging high numbers of applicants.

6. Maine

At the sixth position is Maine, with a total full-time law enforcement workforce of 2,815. Among these are included 2,285 sworn-in full-time law enforcement employees, 530 full-time civilian law enforcement employees, and 135 full-time law enforcement agencies. The gender distributions figures point out that among the full-time sworn in law enforcement agents there are 2,133 males and only 152 females. In the full-time civilian category, there are 210 males as compared to 320 females. The state of Maine’s population amounts to approximately 1.33 million people. Maine is one of the most peaceful states in the U.S. With its high educational levels and high median income levels, there are low crimes rates as well. Consequently, there is a lessened demand for legal officers, as a majority of residents undertake the necessary steps to coexist peacefully.

5. North Dakota

At position five on our list of states with the fewer numbers of full-time law enforcement employees is North Dakota, with its 2,157 full-time law enforcement employees. Among these are included 1,593 officially sworn-in full-time employees, as well as 564 full-time civilian employees and 112 full-time law enforcement agencies. The state has a population of approximately 739,482 people. North Dakota, being primarily one of the major farming regions of the U.S., is less involved with legal concerns. The population is peaceful, and the few instances requiring legal attention are resolved quickly.

4. Montana

The fourth state with the fewest number of full-time law enforcement officers is Montana, with only 2,021 officers and agents. The number of officially sworn-in, full-time law enforcement officers is 1,435, with full-time civilian law enforcement employees reaching 586, and 72 full-time law enforcement agencies active in the state. Gender ratios indicate that there are more males in the sworn-in category, numbering 1,332, with only 103 females. In the civilian section, there are 207 males and 379 females. The total population of Maine is about 715,400 people. From a historical perspective, Montana has always had markedly low absolute levels of criminal activities. From the Census Quick Fact sheet, Montana is a balanced state, with a general coherence of understanding between communities. Legal reports have also indicated few criminally engaging instances among locals. For these reasons, in combination with its somewhat remote location, the state makes limited usage of law enforcement officers. However, owing to the legal provisions, each state must have a legal framework to ensure present and future protection of its respective residents.

3. Wyoming

The third position is held by Wyoming, with its full-time law enforcement officers standing at 1,956. Among them, there are 1,221 officially sworn-in, full-time law enforcement officers, 633 full-time civilian officers, and only 60 full-time law enforcement agencies. The total population of Wyoming is approximately 538,200 people. Given the low rates of persons with post-secondary degree qualifications, the state of Wyoming provides relatively low incomes to its public sector employees. In this regard, low pay, in addition to the demographics and location of the state and its relative security, combine to leave Wyoming with such astonishingly low number of law enforcement officers.

2. Alaska

At the second position is Alaska, with only 1,938 total full-time law enforcement employees. These employees include the officially sworn-in officers, who total 1,258, as well as 680 full-time civilian law enforcement officers, and only 33 full-time law enforcement agencies. Gender variances indicate that the State of Alaska employs more males in the sworn-in category, just like all other states, with the number standing at 1,145 males and only 113 females. In the civilian sector there are more females, adding up to 449, compared to only 231 males. The total population of Alaska stands at approximately 732,300 people. Alaska is also regarded as being far removed from the contiguous part of the U.S., and its location makes it more difficult to associate with the rest of the U.S. Although it is not the least populated state in America, Alaska is a very cold state, whereby there is cool weather almost throughout the entire year. There is little activity going on in employing law enforcement, despite high crime rates. The nature of legal frameworks in existence there provides support to locals in instances that do not require crime interventions, although these also occur regularly. The state also pays its legal officers low incomes, with little consideration of adversities for employees, such as high costs of living.

1. Vermont

At the first position on our list is Vermont, with the lowest numbers of full-time law enforcement employees of any U.S. state. The state employs only 1,489 full-time employees, with 1,194 being officially sworn-in, 295 being full-time civilian law enforcement officers, and the state having 87 full-time law enforcement agencies. Vermont’s state population is the lowest among those ranked herein, standing at only 621,172 people. A majority of the cities, towns and counties within Vermont are considered to be generally safe from a statistical perspective. The need for law enforcement employees in such zones is less pertinent. Owing to the fact that the median income of its population is well over that of many other U.S. states, and its strategic location away from big cities and other populous areas’ activities, there is less legal attention necessary. For the most part, its inhabitants consider themselves to be safe. Its scattered population also offers less room for criminal interaction, and hence fewer chances of issues requiring legal attention.


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