Does Brookfield Have Enough Police Officers?

Brookfield has 1.68 officers for every 1,000 people living in the city. Use this searchable database on Patch to see how this compares with others around the state.

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:

  • Priorities
  • Number of calls for service
  • Population size, density and composition
  • Citizen demands for protective services
  • Municipal resources

Use this searchable database on Patch to compare the police staffing levels in other communities of similar population size in Wisconsin.

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.

Brookfield police calls up; staffing unchanged

The database shows Brookfield has 81 law enforcement employees — 64 sworn officers and 17 civilians. That translates to a ratio of 1.68 officers per 1,000 residents.

Of course, Brookfield's population roughly doubles during the daytime hours when its commercial areas are full of non-resident workers, shoppers, diners and hotel guests.

Unlike some other communities with similar population, Brookfield has more retail, which can translate to more calls for service.

According to the city's 2013 adopted budget, the city's calls for services have risen from 29,432 in 2009 to 32,763 in 2011 and a projected 33,000 by year-end of 2012. The number of Brookfield police officers have been unchanged during that time.

Brookfield has 42 police officers, eight detectives, six sergeants, five lieutenants, two captains, an assistant police chief and a police chief, according to the city budget.

Neighboring Wauwatosa — which has an even larger population and commercial / medical centers, there are 115 law enforcement employees — 92 sworn officers and 23 civilians. That translates to a ratio of 1.97 officers per 1,000 residents.

The database said Menomonee Falls has 78 law enforcement employees (58 sworn and 20 civilian) for a ratio of 1.62 officers per 1,000 residents. New Berlin had 84 (68 and 16) for a ratio of 1.71.


Officers per 1,000 people Community Total law enforcement employees Total officers Total civilians 3.33 Glendale 47 43 4 3.12 Milwaukee 2,586 1,862 724 2.85 Elm Grove 25 17 8 2.14 West Allis 155 130 25 1.97 Wauwatosa 115 92 23 1.71 New Berlin 84 68 16 1.68 Brookfield 81 64 17 1.68 Oak Creek 79 58 21 1.65 Waukesha 149 117 32 1.62 Menomonee Falls 78 58 20 1.57 Greenfield 77 58 19 1.56 Mt. Pleasant 45 41 4 Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation's 2011 Crime in the United States 

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Steven Toepfer December 04, 2012 at 03:12 PM
With 15 supervisory personnel for 42 officers in Brookfield this translates to one supervisor per 2.8 officers. With 1.68 officers per 1000 residents It seems the officers have more oversight than the citizens they serve.
Scott Berg December 04, 2012 at 04:12 PM
The sergeants and lieutenants are usually on patrol along with the officers. The captains and chiefs are mostly day shift on weekdays. If you consider that you need a supervisor every 8 hour shift, 3 shifts a day, plus weekends plus holidays plus sick days plus vacations, and generally limit each individual to 40 hours/week, this is how many you need. In fact, even the chief has been known to write a citation on his way to work. Given the potentially serious and dangerous work at hand, there must be a clearly defined "manager" available at all times.
DICK STEINBERG December 04, 2012 at 04:23 PM
what in the world brought this on? an increase in the police budget or more policing for the retail stores?
DICK STEINBERG December 04, 2012 at 04:30 PM
where are the other comments ?
DICK STEINBERG December 04, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Scott. what is a clearly defined manager? who manages who and for what ? Police will not release a simple accident report without a supervisory review and then you have to go to the prosecuting attorney in Greenfield to pay and get it. (unless this like other procedures have changed). what is the job description for the assistant chief and why cannot the next in line officer act as the chief's assistant ? this looks like a well coordinated pitch to back door a budget increase. why not have the retailers hire their own security instead of calling the police and backup police for every incident? granted the police do hard work but so do private sector blue collar workers. BTW. where does the police union stand on this ? The emphasis should be on improved service to the taxpayers.
Scott Berg December 04, 2012 at 05:34 PM
The police department headcount last changed (working from memory here) over 5 years ago. I don't know what prompted this article - ask the reporter. A "clearly defined manager" in a paramilitary organization like the police should be obvious to a military veteran. It's the person with more stripes (or hardware) on the shoulder. The police department budget changed to cover increased salaries as per union contract plus the usual inflationary changes. Remember, police and fire are exempt from the state's Act 10 changes that affected teachers and other city employees. Talk to Governor Walker about that. I shouldn't have to explain to an attorney that arrest powers are vested in sworn public officers, not private security. What happens if a shoplifter becomes violent? Who is more credible in collecting evidence and interrogation - private guard or police? Do you want a store "loss control management" person to carry a gun? Take a deep breath, Dick! This is a routine story, not an expose.
DICK STEINBERG December 05, 2012 at 12:24 AM
Scott. my comments have been deleted, so in short: There is an enormous amount of money and effort when the armed police and backup police rush to a retailer on a complaint of shoplifting, which the taxpayers foot the bill for. Some of these items are trivial in value and some include unarmed juveniles. Retailers have all the evidence they need with the video surveliance, admissions and confessions, immediate return of merchandise recovered on the spot and not even taken out of the store and the protections of the law to detain a suspect and then sue the suspect for treble damages, guilty or not. Thousands plus thousands of dollars can be saved by having the police send a citation to the alleged culpret. These cases are monetary forfeitures and not crimes under local ordinance. No guns are needed, just secure the video, interview the culpret and show them the exit. The amateurs will quickly leave and the professionals will pay the fine our of their "budget" and go to another shopping place. Juvenile Court has been abolished. In the past when parents came to that court and read the police report most pleas were guilty.
DICK STEINBERG December 05, 2012 at 12:28 AM
Scott. the problem is that most if not all elected officials ever suggest to law enforcement a prudent remedy for all this wasted money protecting the retailers at the expense of the taxpayers. There is a better way. You have the forum, not me.
Lisa Sink (Editor) December 05, 2012 at 12:37 AM
Strange. Dick, I did not delete any comments and didn't see any posted that were later deleted. Fyi only. Hope there's not something wrong with the CMS, thanks.
DICK STEINBERG December 05, 2012 at 12:48 AM
Lisa. these new fangled computers !!!!!!!!
DICK STEINBERG December 05, 2012 at 12:50 AM
There will be no budget adjustments for the Pentagon and law enforcement because most politicians are afraid to fight for what is right.
DICK STEINBERG December 06, 2012 at 11:54 PM
An Alderman with guts should propose that the police mail citations to the alleged offenders in retail theft cases after a written complaint is filed by the retailer that has merit. There is no need to have a squad car and a backup squad car race to Brookfield Square after the fact and after the evidence is available (store witness, surveilance video, admission by thief). Same is true for some traffic stops that cause traffic jams when the officer can gather the evidence on the scene and mail the ticket to the violator. there are always exceptions. modern technology has many benefits and allows police manpower to work on other important cases. caveat: it will never happen.
Bitter Clinger December 07, 2012 at 03:08 PM
As a radio hobbyist monitoring the radio traffic for first and second shifts, it's my opinion that the staffing is adequate for CofB. Seldom is a request for service delayed, even the nuisance 911 misdial responses are handled in a timely manner. Requests for mutual aid from neighboring jurisdictions is rare. Clearly shoplifting peaks during the holidays, other times of the year I don't hear that much. Maybe a temporary dedicated officer at the mall should be considered during the holidays. I'd like to see the stats for Town of Brookfield and Butler for comparison.


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