OFFICER Media Group State of the Industry 2024 Projection Survey Summary

Oct. 17, 2023
Check out the summary of the results from OFFICER Magazine's annual State of the Industry Projection Survey, which looks at budget issues and other challenges facing the law enforcement respondents.

Each year, Officer Media Group performs a survey of law enforcement in an attempt to see what’s coming “down the road” as far as budget growth or loss, challenges faced, changes being planned, etc. We ask the respondents to answer based on what they reasonably believe their next budget year will hold. This year’s survey ran from July 10 through Aug. 13, so in some cases, our respondents were answering with full positivity; that is to say that their “next calendar year” budget has already started— running July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2024. Some of the respondents are answering about the near future because their 2024 budget starts on Oct. 1. Others are answering farther out as their budgets won’t start until Jan. 1, 2024.

View the Full 2024 State of the Industry Projection Survey Report

This year’s survey saw 720 vetted respondents, meaning they are all confirmed to be employed in law enforcement or they are retired from law enforcement but still attached to and performing duties for an agency. Of that 720 respondents, 60% were of supervisory or command staff, with 25% being the rank of lieutenant or higher. The respondents were further identified by current assignment with 33% being in command or administration while the remaining 66%-plus were all commanders or supervisors in various service disciplines, i.e. special operations, training, investigations, etc.

The largest percentage of respondents, approximately 48%, are employed by municipal police agencies with an additional 25% working for county governments, 8% working for state agencies and another 6% working for campus police departments. The remainder of the respondents work for federal, health, private or transit agencies.

While most folks are familiar with big agencies like NYPD, Chicago Police Department or Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department, those large agencies only made up about 23% of our respondents. Fully, 77% of our respondents serve populations smaller than 100,000 and while that may seem like a fairly big town/ city, it equates to (on average) about 100 sworn officers.

When asked if they anticipated their 2024 budget to grow or be cut, 69% answered that they expect growth in their 2024 budget as compared to their 2023 budget. With those budget increases, the most anticipated expenditures out of newly available funds are fleet purchases/maintenance, salary increases (very important to recruiting and retention efforts), training and “other equipment.” The remaining funds were almost evenly divided across uniforms, firearms, less-lethal tools and community outreach.

Of the 15% of respondents who anticipate a reduction in their operational budget for 2024, most of the cuts will be directed to other equipment, training, fleet and then uniforms in that order. Salary and community outreach are the two least anticipated line items to be cut. Sixty-five percent of our respondents are employed by agencies with 100 sworn officers or less. Approximately 10% of our respondents work for agencies that have 1,000 sworn officers or more. Keeping in mind how important staffing is and how much of a challenge recruiting has been, 28% of the respondents indicated that they expect their agency strength to increase 5% or less. While 5% may seem minor, that extra manpower can go a long way, especially on smaller agencies.    

Fifty percent of the respondents indicated that their agency has 10 or less support personnel. Roughly 15% of the respondents indicated that they anticipate their support staff will grow but only by 5% or less. Keeping in mind that 10 support people increased 5% only adds one half or part time position.

Demographic questions reveal that our law enforcement community today is still majority caucasian, male and between the ages of 25 to 45 years. The three most represented races in the survey were Caucasian, African-American and Hispanic. Between 80 to 85% of law enforcement is male, but the percentage of females in sworn service has been growing steadily for the past five years.

For the full report on the results of our Industry Survey, please go to officer.com/53070328.

About the Author

Lt. Frank Borelli (ret), Editorial Director | Editorial Director

Lt. Frank Borelli is the Editorial Director for the Officer Media Group. Frank brings 20+ years of writing and editing experience in addition to 40 years of law enforcement operations, administration and training experience to the team.

Frank has had numerous books published which are available on Amazon.com, BarnesAndNoble.com, and other major retail outlets.

If you have any comments or questions, you can contact him via email at [email protected].

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