Data collected by the FBI shows that Evanston has nearly one-third more police officers per capita than other towns its size.

The data shows that on average across the U.S. police departments in towns with 50,000 to 100,000 residents report having 15.9 officers for every 10,000 residents.

By contrast, Evanston has 21.1 sworn officers for every 10,000 residents.

Chart shows all reporting Illinois towns with 50,000 to 100,000 residents.

Among Illinois communities in the 50,000 to 100,000 size range that reported data to the FBI, Evanston has the second highest ratio of officers to residents, exceeded only by Decatur.

Not all local police agencies report the staffing data. Non-reporting communities include the Village of Skokie and the City of Chicago.

The FBI data was highlighted in a story Thursday in Governing magazine.

Evanston Police Cmdr. Joseph Dugan says the department here uses its additional officers to carry out community policing strategies and to take more time on calls to be able to de-escalate situations and otherwise improve the quality of police work.

Dugan, who’s worked in two other metro-area police departments, says that in some towns an officer might already have two calls assigned by the time he leaves roll call at the start of a shift and have to be constantly rushing from one call to another through the day.

Research published by the U.S. Department of Justice advocates a performance-based approach to police staffing — analyzing 911 call volume and other factors to evaluate staffing levels. But it concedes that finding the right metrics can be difficult and indicates that few departments are using such a strategy.

Evanston’s proposed 2017 budget, up for adoption by the City Council next month, calls for no change in police staffing. It calls for spending $37 million on department operations and pensions, more than 15 percent of total city spending.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Oak Park a good comparison?

    I could not find the number of police for Oak Park online but it seems that would have been a good comparison [they just barely make the 50,000 cut-off].

    People often compare Evanston and Oak Park because of efforts in integration and while Oak Park does not have a college, many UIC people live there. With Austin and other areas to the east [southeast ?], they probably need a larger force than Evanston. Despite problems in/from Rogers Park,  and crime in south and west Evanston, it is probably not equal to what Oak Park faces.

  2. Evanston Police

    To me, if EPD has a higher ratio of police to residents, THAT IS GREAT ! !

    I'll sleep better tonight, knowing we have a really strong police department.  I've been robbed at gunpoint twice in Chicago —– and I could never find Chicago cops to report it (those were before the availability of cell phones — life was different in the '80's.

    Keep the EPD strong.  The larger our police force, the safer we are !

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