When it comes to how many police officers a community should have, is there a right number?
There are no federal or state—or even local—mandates for how many officers provide optimal protection and service. The International Association of Chiefs of Police in a recent patrol staffing and deployment study states plainly:
"Ready-made, universally applicable patrol staffing standards do not exist. Ratios, such as officers-per-thousand population, are totally inappropriate as a basis for staffing decisions."
Instead, the study says needs should be determined by a number of different factors, including:
- Number of calls for service
- Population size, density and composition
- Citizen demands for protective services
- Municipal resources
Still, as the community of Caledonia grows, the calls for service continue to rise. Caledonia has a sworn strength of 29 full-time officers and 24,705 residents.
Caledonia's police staffing level are the lowest in the state, and roughly half of what the Federal Bureau of Investigation recommends.
The department has 29 patrol officers and supervisors, for a ratio of just over 1.1 officers per 1,000 residents, well under the FBI recommendation of two officers per 1,000 residents. Police Chief Toby Schey told village officials in September that he wanted a plan in place to change that for the 2014 budget.
“But I think we have to have a strategic plan to add patrol officers," Schey said in September. "I would like to see three officers in next years budget. We’re currently at 1.1 officers per 1,000 we have in population and you will not see a lower staffed department in the state based on our population with the area we cover and the types of calls we handle.
“We’re between Milwaukee and Racine. It goes without saying that you all live here and you know what’s out there – but we keep it going. Like I said, it’s very hard to maintain those four officers per shift.”
Caledonia's violent crime rate of 2.78 per 1,000 in population well exceeds our neighboring communities. In Mount Pleasant, the violent crime rate is .87, in Oak Creek it's .87, and in Franklin it's .42.
The violent crime rate in Caledonia has also increased significantly.
Violent crime rate
Property crime rate
However, the property crime rate is lower than other communities at 15.84 per 1,000 in population. Mount Pleasant was at 26.22, Oak Creek is at 33, and Franklin is at 17.61. But Caledonia doesn't have as large of a retail area than those other communities do.
Want to do more research to see how Caledonia stacks up against other communities in Wisconsin? Use this handy database to find out the violent crime rates in other communities and this database to find out the property crime rate in other communities.
Data is from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's annual Crime in the United States report, which incorporates information reported to the FBI by law enforcement agencies. This report covers 2011.