Police Ratio

The proposed 2015-2016 City of Austin budget increases the number of sworn police officers per capita.

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I previously discussed some of the problems with the PERF police staffing study that recommended a significant increase in sworn personnel (PDF). Some readers were surprised that the study actually recommended a further increase in the number of sworn officers per thousand.

The PERF study was written in 2012 and recommended an increase in the sworn force to 1,946 by 2017.  The document’s 2017 ratio of 2.11 sworn-officers-per-thousand-residents was based on a lower population count than the City Demographer is currently estimating (PDF).  However, given the focus on patrol having “33% uncommitted time”, it’s unlikely that the actual sworn number needed to meet the report’s recommendations would stay at 1,946 given the population size increase.

As for the current budget debate, the sworn force proposed is 1,931 personnel.  The ratio depends on which population figure from the City Demographer one uses.  Since the budget is for 2015-2016 and there’s different population counts for 2015 and 2016, the ratio depends on which year (or combination of the two) one deems most reasonable. Regardless of the combination, however, the ratio goes up from the 2.08 sworn-officers-per-thousand-residents in 2012 that were the baseline for the PERF study. Averaging the population counts for both years gives us a 2.12 sworn-officers-per-thousand-residents ratio.

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