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Estimates of the National and Washington Demand for Police Officers and Deputies
75,000 nationally and 1,325 Washington Law Enforcement vacancies annually?
The number of vacancies in an occupation is the total of replacements for those who leave the occupation, plus employment growth in the occupation.
US Department of Labor estimates that between 2008 and 2018, the net increase (growth) in police and sheriff patrol officers (net of retirements, resignations, disability and deaths) of 57,400 jobs, almost all in local and state government.
Research reveals police / deputy turnover ranging between 8% and 14% annually. Applying a moderate 10% turnover rate to the Department of Labor’s count of 691,000 patrol officer and deputies suggests 69,100 turnover replacements annually.
Estimated nationwide patrol officer and deputy vacancies ANNUALLY = 69,100 turnover vacancies + 5,740 growth vacancies = 74,840.
Applying the national growth rate to Washington’s current 8,600 officers suggests about 75 new officers or deputies annually, with turnover creating another 860 vacancies. Washington’s estimated total patrol officer and deputy vacancies ANNUALLY = 935.
There are also about 2,300 federal law enforcement officers in Washington State. The combination of turnover and occupational growth should create about 390 annual vacancies. Not all of those vacancies will be filled locally; many will be filled by interstate transfers or by initial assignment of new-hires finishing basic training (at FLETC or FBI Academy).
Law enforcement careers are particularly attractive because Washington’s median police officer / deputy wage is $32 per hour, 70% higher than the median hourly wage for all Washington occupations.
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