Top 20 Largest Police Departments in the United States
Police departments in the United States are typically organized at the local level, with each city or town having its own police force. Some larger cities may have multiple police departments, such as separate departments for city and county law enforcement.
The structure and organization of police departments can vary widely depending on the size and needs of the community they serve. In general, police departments are headed by a chief of police, who is responsible for overseeing the department’s operations and personnel.
Police officers in the United States are generally sworn law enforcement officers with the power to enforce local, state, and federal laws. They are responsible for maintaining public safety and order, preventing and investigating crime, and making arrests when necessary.
Police departments often have specialized units or divisions to handle specific types of crimes or situations. For example, many departments have detective bureaus to investigate serious crimes, such as homicide or organized crime, while others have SWAT teams for handling high-risk situations such as hostage crises or terrorist incidents.
Police departments may also have community outreach programs, such as school resource officers, who work with schools to promote safety and prevent crime, or community policing units, who work to build relationships with residents and businesses in the community.
Overall, police departments play a critical role in maintaining public safety and upholding the law in the United States.
The police department in the US was formed in 1838 when the private businessmen demanded a system from the regime in which the public department will give protection to their goods. Gradually the system developed, and by the end of the 1800s, there was public policy in almost all the main cities of The States. Meanwhile, the private security system also emerged. This emergence gave rise to diversity in the policing department of The United States. Multiple policing agencies patrol around a single city with overlapping responsibilities.
Today, there are almost 18,000 police departments in The United States, and their central aim is to provide protection to the citizens. These agencies enforce the law, investigate suspicious activities, maintain law and order, arrest the suspects accused of committing a crime and prosecute those where the bar of evidence has been reached. The police department is a part of a bigger criminal justice system that consists of prosecutors, courts, juvenile justice systems, and correctional agencies such as prisons and probation and parole departments.
How many police departments are there in The United States?
There are 18,000 police departments in the United States currently with 697,195 full-time law enforcement officers up till 2019.
The structure of the police department is not standard in terms of structure, size, or governance. They vary based on the type of police department, local, state, sheriff’s office, special jurisdiction, and others. Each department has its structure ranging from a single-officer police department to more than 30,000 officers.
No. of officers
State and local Police Departments in the United States
In this blog, we will discuss about the largest police departments in the US.
- 20 Largest Police Departments In The US
- List Of Police Departments By Size
New York City Police Department – NYPD
When talking about the police, we cannot miss NYPD. It is one of the largest and oldest police departments in The US. With over 36,000 police officers and 19,000 civilian employees, NYPD has proved itself to the US’s largest police force. The agency was established back in 1845 which is now protecting the city that comprises 8.5 million people.
The New York City Police Department’s mission is to upgrade the citizens’ quality of life by involving them and working with them in the form of a community to enforce the law, preserve peace, protect the people, reduce fear, and maintain order.
The NYPD structure consists of different bureaus, each headed by a chief or deputy commissioner who makes sure that bureaus are performing their functions fully.
Chicago Police Department – CPD
Chicago Police Department CPD is the oldest police department in Chicago, Illinois, US, formed in 1837 has now over 13,135 officers. It is the second-largest municipal police department in the states, with 12,000 officers and over 1,925 other employees.
The department is led by the superintended of police along with the help of the First Deputy Superintendent. He handles four bureaus that are separately headed by the bureau chiefs.
The biggest police department is divided into 25 district units, and the commanders supervise these districts. The Chicago police structure is well-formed, making sure that all the citizens’ concerns are being heard.
Los Angeles Police Department – LAPD
Los Angeles Police Department is one of California’s largest police departments, with approximately 9,000 sworn officers and 3,000 civilian employees. The city has a population of 4 million people that means for every 433 residents, there is only one officer, which is comparatively lower than the other departments. The department is committed to serving the community while protecting their rights. The LAPD vision is to see the city free of crimes and fear as their motto says, “To Protect and to Serve.”
The LAPD serves 21 community areas based over 468 square miles. The structure of the department is broad and organized. The BOARD OF POLICE COMMISSIONERS is in charge, ensuring that the department’s core values are Service to Our Communities, Reverence for the Law, Commitment to Leadership, Integrity in All We Say and Do, Respect for People and Quality Through Continuous Improvement are being followed.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department – LASD
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is United States’ largest sheriff’s department with 18,000 employees and covers 23 Patrol Stations in different parts of California, providing patrol services for 153 unincorporated communities. The department covers 4,084 square miles with a population of 10.04 million people. LASD offers services to 42 contract cities, 141 unincorporated communities, 216 facilities, hospitals, and clinics located throughout the County.
The department also provides training courses to other small law enforcement agencies. It ensures that the employees follow the principle values: integrity, accountability, service, and ethics.
The department’s focus is not just to provide jobs but also to build characters and treat them with care and respect.
Philadelphia Police Department – PPD
Philadelphia Police Department is the fourth-biggest police department in the US, with 6,300 sworn members and 800 civilian personnel. Philadelphia is a small law enforcement agency based in Philadelphia County, covering 140 square miles with a population of 1.57 million.
The department is divided into 21 districts in a uniform structure headed by the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioners. Like all the law enforcement agencies, their vision is to fight against crimes, enforce laws and provide safety, give quality service to the citizen and create a positive environment for the employees.
Cook County Sheriff’s Office – CCSP
Cook County Sheriff’s office was founded in 1931, and it is the second biggest sheriff department in the US with 6,700 members who serve Cook County, Illinois. Currently, the office is run by Sheriff Thomas J. Dart, and the chief of staff is responsible for the police department of the Cook County Sheriff’s Office.
The police department of the sheriff’s office has more than 500 officers and 100 civilian personnel. These officers must provide essential police services to the 109,000 residents. Besides that, they provide services and security to the county and court facilities and administer the Cook County Jail.
The police department structure is developed harmoniously; four different departments look deeply into the cases to get quicker results and provide protection to the residents.
Houston Police Department – HPD
Houston police department is one of the top police departments in the US that serves Houston, Texas. United States is the fourth largest city in the US. HPD is headed by the chief of police, who is appointed by the Mayor of Houston. The department has 5,400 sworn law enforcement officers and 892 civilian support personnel that serve the region of 671 square miles with 2.31 million residents.
The department’s mission is to enhance the quality of life for Houston citizens by working hand in hand with the public, encouraging community programs, and providing a safe environment.
New York State Police – NYSP
Formed in 1917, New York State police are the official state police of New York whose mission is to serve, protect, and defend the people while preserving all rights. The police department of New York has over 5,000 sworn state officers and 711 civilian members. The State Department is not only eliminating crimes but also provide safety in critical situations.
The department’s four more essential missions are; highway safety, professional police service to people, preventing terrorism, and preparing for emergencies. To fulfill this mission, the department provides all the law enforcement services across the state, such as patrols, assisting citizens, conducting investigations, providing emergency services.
Besides this, the department is also responsible for traffic control, answering 911 calls and helping the public, and controlling narcotics and terrorism.
Pennsylvania State Police – PSP
Pennsylvania state police were created in 1905, it was the first uniformed police in the US, and today it is one of the top-ranked police departments with 4,719 sworn members and 1,850 civilians. The state police are led by a Commissioner who makes sure that the department is performing all its obligations. The State police’s vision is to keep communities safe and gain their trust by practicing new strategies, building a connection with the communities, and facilitating all the members with equality.
The police department pays close attention to its core purpose; seek justice, preserve peace, and improve the public’s quality of life. The officers are committed to the values of the department that are; honour, service, integrity, respect, duty, and trust. The Pennsylvania state police are responsible for law enforcement duties and maintain and control the traffic and ensure the safety of the residents.
The Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia – MPDC
The Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia MPDC, also known as Metropolitan Police Department MPD and the DC Police, founded in 1861, is now amongst the most extensive local police department in the US. Over 4,000 sworn and civilian members are serving the city, which is divided into seven different districts. The total area on which the department s serves is 68.3 square miles against the population of 0.69 million.
The chief of police leads the MPD under him. Different bureaus are working in various districts to maintain peace and harmony in the state. The department provides additional services to the citizens such as; emergency service, K9, patrol, air support, explosive diffusion, homeland security, criminal intelligence, narcotics, and firearms recovery hence following their mission to safeguard the state of Colombia.
Dallas Police Department – DPD
The Dallas Police Department was created in 1881, is one of the best US police departments. The department is directed by the chief of police, which ensures that the police department’s mission is to reduce crimes and break ethical barriers and protect the right of all. There are a total of eight patrol stations in Dallas to provide high-quality services to the people.
Dallas’s total population is 1.33 million on 383 square miles, against which there are 3,640 sworn officers and 556 civilian members who work day and night to make Dallas a peaceful and safe place for the locals. The department provides various services to its people like; providing preventive, investigative, and enforcement services, working hand in hand with the communities to control the crimes, putting effort and gaining the people’s trust. The department not only serves the people but also treat every individual with dignity and respect.
Phoenix Police Department – PPD
Phoenix police department was also formed in 1881 to protect the resident of Phoenix, Arizona. The department is headed by the chief of police, who has the authority to make decisions. The department has 2,900 officers and more than 1,000 support personnel who serve 1.63 million people and patrol around the region of almost 516 square miles.
The PPD is divided into six divisions; Community & Support Services Division, Investigations Division, Patrol Operations South Division, Patrol Operations North Division, Strategic & Tactical Services Division, and Reserve Division. Each division is headed by the assistant chief, who is answerable to the police department’s chief.
The divisions are made to work more effectively and protect all the citizens of Phoenix.
Miami Dade Police Department – MDPD
Miami-Dade, the police department also known as Dade County Sheriff’s Office formed in 1836 to provide essential police services in the unincorporated area of Miami-Dade County, Miami Lakes, Palmetto Bay, and Cutler Bay. The department collaborates with the community to promote a safe environment in the region while fulfilling its core values. The department’s vision is to make strategies in a way that fulfils the public’s concerns.
There are approximately 3000 officers and 1,700 civilian members working in the department makes it amongst the largest law enforcement agencies in the US.
The department is divided into eight districts that provide different services like; patrol services on the airport, seaport, marine, motorcycle, bomb disposal, and SWAT.
Baltimore Police Department – BPD
There are nine districts:
- Central District
- Southeastern District
- Eastern District
- Northeastern District
- Northern District
- Northwestern District
- Western District
- Southwestern District
- Southern District
There are nearly 3,100 sworn and civilian personnel who serve the population of 614,000 people and patrol around the area of approximately 90 square miles to serve the Baltimore Police Department’s mission. The mission is to enforce the law in a fair, impartial, and ethical manner without harming the United States’ constitution.
Boston Police Department
Boston Police Department was formed in 1854 is one of the oldest law enforcement agencies in the US. The police commissioner directs the department. Under his supervision, there are eight different bureaus, making the working of the department smooth and quick. The DPD is divided into three zones that Deputy Superintendent controls and 11 other districts. Each section is headed by a captain responsible for maintaining law and order in his/her area.
There are 2,015 officers and 808 civilian personnel in the department who also provide patrol services in 89.6 square mile area to the population of 617,594. The department works hard with the mission to serve and protect the community of Boston, Massachusetts.
Milwaukee Police Department – MPD
Milwaukee Police Department is one of the top police departments in the US that serve the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The department was established in 1855 and headed by the police commissioner and is further divided into seven districts to maintain and enforce law and order.
There are a total of 2,305 employees, out of which there are 1,800 sworn officers who protect 594,548 people of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The department is always working hard to make the vision, making Milwaukee a safe place to live where there is no inequality amongst the citizens, come true.
Detroit Police Department – DPD
Detroit Police Department is a municipal police department responsible for protecting the people of Detroit, Michigan. The department was formed in 1865 and has become one of the largest police departments in the USA, with 2,200 officers who are always patrolling around 139 square miles protecting the 674,841 citizens.
The Detroit police department and its members are committed to providing a safe atmosphere to Detroit’s citizens. They make sure that the concerns of citizens are heard, and their problems are solved. To make the city a better place, DPD has assigned an NPO program through which all areas of the city will be protected, and it will bring the police departments and the public close to one another.
San Francisco Police Department – SFPD
San Francisco, the police department was formed in 1849. Don’t get confused with the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department is different from San Francisco Police Department. The department is led by the police chief, who is responsible for making all the significant decisions.
There is a division in the department to make the workflow smooth; the chief works with two assistant chiefs and five deputy chiefs who further lead six bureaus. SFPD serves a population of 1.2 million people, protecting them day and night. To protect the people, they provide different services and respond to concerns with compassion.
Atlanta Police Department – APD
Atlanta Police Department is amongst the top law enforcement agencies in the US that serves the city of Atlanta, Georgia. The police department was formed in 1873, and the department has changed its strategies overtime to help the people of Atlanta. It highly depends upon the community’s input to eliminate the crime by involving the youth in different programs and breaking the gap between police and the public.
The City of Atlanta is divided into six patrol zones, and 1770 police officers guard the 136 square miles region and giving protection to 506,811 people. All the members of the APD follow the core values that are professionalism, integrity,commitment and courage to serve the mission of reducing crimes and ensuring the safety of the people of Atlanta.
Austin Police Department – APD
Austin Police Department is the highest-ranking law enforcement agency in the US that serves the region of Austin, Texas. The department is headed by the chief of police, who makes sure that the department’s aim is being achieved. There is approximately 2,646 personnel, including 1,900 officers who look after the 950,807 citizens and patrol around 296 square miles.
The department provides different services to the citizens and controls the crimes and other offences happening around the region. With the community program’s help, the department makes an effort to bridge the gap between the public and police departments. In this way, the issues and crimes get eliminated, and the environment becomes safer for the residents.
These were some of the top-ranked police departments in The United States of America which people prefer to join and have the highest number of police officers.