The number of police officers patrolling the streets of Bradenton is on par with the U.S. Department of Justice’s standards of how many police officers per citizens should have.
An article written by a statistician from the DOJ’s Bureau of Justice Statistics shows that, nationwide, the number of sworn law enforcement officers increased by 25 percent from 1992-2008. This was necessary to keep pace with growing populations.
The Department of Justice recommends that a law enforcement agency have between 2.2-2.4 sworn officers for every one thousand residents. With roughly 50,000 residents in Bradenton and a force of 120 police officers, the City is within that range, said Police Chief Michael Radzilowski.
But the City had to train and hire officers at a pace higher than the national average of 25% in order to conform to DOJ standards. The City saw a 35.5-percent increase in its police force. During the last decade the police force in Bradenton has gone from 108 to 120 sworn officers, and that’s resulted in a more than 33-percent decrease in crime from 33.06-percent decrease in crime from 2003-2011.
Chief Radzilowski said the increase in police officers started under the late Police Chief Al Hogle, who Mayor Wayne Poston hired in Sept. 2001 to replace retired Chief Dan Thorpe. Chief Radzilowski was hired in December 2002 after Chief Hogle left to take over the Longboat Key Police Department.
The increase of police officers under Mayor Poston in addition to improved working conditions and equipment and a hike in pay helped stabilize the force, Chief Radzilowski said.
“We were a training ground for other agencies,” he added. “We were losing 20 to 25 officers a year. Now there’s no grass greener on the other side.”