Special Report

States Spending the Most per Person on Police

Anna Bryukhanova / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

High-profile unlawful killings by police officers in recent years have put American law enforcement under intense public scrutiny. Outrage over abuses of power, most notably the murder of George Floyd, led many to advocate for radical police reform, with some going so far as to call for defunding the police. 

Dismissed by elected officials across the political spectrum as an unworkable idea, the defund the police movement failed to gain meaningful traction with policy makers – many of whom have expressed support for police reform rather than complete disbandment. In his 2022 State of the Union Address, President Joe Biden stated in no-uncertain terms: “We should all agree the answer is not to defund the police. It’s to fund the police… Fund them with the resources and training they need to protect our communities.”

In light of rising violent crime, grassroots support for the defund the police movement also appears to be slipping. An October 2021 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center found that 47% of American adults say they want increased police spending in their area, up from 31% in June 2020. State and local police spending totaled $128.2 billion in 2020, up from $122.6 billion the previous year – and if public sentiment is any gauge, that number will likely continue to rise. 

Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 State & Local Government Finance Historical Datasets and Tables, 24/7 Wall St. identified the states spending the most on police. States are ranked by per capita state and local spending on police in 2020, the latest year of available data. 

Depending on the state, annual police spending ranges from about $180 per resident to over $500 per resident. As might be expected, states with the highest per capita police spending tend to have larger police forces, and vice versa. Four of the five states investing the most in police rank in the top 20 states by number of police officers per capita. Meanwhile, four of the five states spending the least rank among the 11 states with the fewest police per capita. (Here is a look at the states with the most police officers.) 

The link between police spending and crime rates is less clear. Still, low violent crime rates in several of the states spending the least suggest that state and local lawmakers in these places may see little need to ramp up investment in law enforcement. (Here is a look at America’s most heavily policed cities.)

Click here to see states spending the most per person on police.

Click here to see our detailed methodology.

Source: Brett Carlsen / Getty Images News via Getty Images

50. Kentucky
> Annual state & local police funding: $181 per resident ($818 million total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 1.6% (the lowest)
> Police officers in state: 215 per 100,000 people – 6th fewest (9,680 total)
> Violent crime rate: 259 crimes per 100,000 people – 11th lowest
> Population: 4,509,394 – 25th smallest

Source: Roberto Galan / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

49. Indiana
> Annual state & local police funding: $235 per resident ($1.6 billion total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 2.3% (9th lowest)
> Police officers in state: 230 per 100,000 people – 11th fewest (15,633 total)
> Violent crime rate: 358 crimes per 100,000 people – 24th lowest
> Population: 6,805,985 – 17th largest

Source: Spencer Platt / Getty Images News via Getty Images

48. Maine
> Annual state & local police funding: $239 per resident ($328 million total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 2.2% (2nd lowest)
> Police officers in state: 215 per 100,000 people – 7th fewest (2,957 total)
> Violent crime rate: 109 crimes per 100,000 people – the lowest
> Population: 1,372,247 – 9th smallest

Source: csfotoimages / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

47. Arkansas
> Annual state & local police funding: $243 per resident ($737 million total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 2.5% (18th lowest)
> Police officers in state: 294 per 100,000 people – 9th most (8,902 total)
> Violent crime rate: 672 crimes per 100,000 people – 4th highest
> Population: 3,025,891 – 18th smallest

Source: Roberto Galan / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

46. West Virginia
> Annual state & local police funding: $255 per resident ($455 million total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 2.2% (5th lowest)
> Police officers in state: 219 per 100,000 people – 9th fewest (3,901 total)
> Violent crime rate: 356 crimes per 100,000 people – 23rd lowest
> Population: 1,782,959 – 12th smallest

Source: string_bass_dave / Flickr

45. South Dakota
> Annual state & local police funding: $256 per resident ($229 million total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 2.6% (19th lowest)
> Police officers in state: 237 per 100,000 people – 15th fewest (2,123 total)
> Violent crime rate: 501 crimes per 100,000 people – 8th highest
> Population: 895,376 – 5th smallest

Source: csfotoimages / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

44. Mississippi
> Annual state & local police funding: $267 per resident ($789 million total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 2.4% (13th lowest)
> Police officers in state: 291 per 100,000 people – 12th most (8,580 total)
> Violent crime rate: 291 crimes per 100,000 people – 14th lowest
> Population: 2,949,965 – 17th smallest

Source: csfotoimages / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

43. South Carolina
> Annual state & local police funding: $273 per resident ($1.4 billion total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 2.5% (16th lowest)
> Police officers in state: 279 per 100,000 people – 21st most (14,478 total)
> Violent crime rate: 531 crimes per 100,000 people – 7th highest
> Population: 5,190,705 – 23rd largest

Source: Onfokus / iStock via Getty Images

42. Utah
> Annual state & local police funding: $278 per resident ($927 million total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 2.4% (14th lowest)
> Police officers in state: 186 per 100,000 people – the fewest (6,221 total)
> Violent crime rate: 261 crimes per 100,000 people – 12th lowest
> Population: 3,337,975 – 21st smallest

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

41. Georgia
> Annual state & local police funding: $282 per resident ($3.0 billion total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 3.0% (18th highest)
> Police officers in state: 257 per 100,000 people – 21st fewest (27,743 total)
> Violent crime rate: 400 crimes per 100,000 people – 22nd highest
> Population: 10,799,566 – 8th largest

Source: CRobertson / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

40. Idaho
> Annual state & local police funding: $284 per resident ($540 million total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 3.2% (13th highest)
> Police officers in state: 232 per 100,000 people – 13th fewest (4,416 total)
> Violent crime rate: 243 crimes per 100,000 people – 9th lowest
> Population: 1,900,923 – 13th smallest

Source: Susan Vineyard / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

39. Oklahoma
> Annual state & local police funding: $286 per resident ($1.1 billion total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 3.0% (20th highest)
> Police officers in state: 284 per 100,000 people – 18th most (11,309 total)
> Violent crime rate: 459 crimes per 100,000 people – 13th highest
> Population: 3,986,639 – 23rd smallest

Source: Steve Pope / Getty Images News via Getty Images

38. Iowa
> Annual state & local police funding: $287 per resident ($915 million total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 2.3% (7th lowest)
> Police officers in state: 221 per 100,000 people – 10th fewest (7,061 total)
> Violent crime rate: 303 crimes per 100,000 people – 17th lowest
> Population: 3,193,079 – 20th smallest

Source: Jacqueline Nix / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

37. Alabama
> Annual state & local police funding: $288 per resident ($1.5 billion total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 2.8% (24th lowest)
> Police officers in state: 284 per 100,000 people – 19th most (14,290 total)
> Violent crime rate: 454 crimes per 100,000 people – 14th highest
> Population: 5,039,877 – 24th largest

Source: RiverNorthPhotography / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

36. Michigan
> Annual state & local police funding: $291 per resident ($2.9 billion total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 2.5% (17th lowest)
> Police officers in state: 199 per 100,000 people – 3rd fewest (20,040 total)
> Violent crime rate: 478 crimes per 100,000 people – 10th highest
> Population: 10,050,811 – 10th largest

Source: Eric Thayer / Getty Images News via Getty Images

35. Nebraska
> Annual state & local police funding: $298 per resident ($584 million total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 2.3% (10th lowest)
> Police officers in state: 251 per 100,000 people – 18th fewest (4,923 total)
> Violent crime rate: 334 crimes per 100,000 people – 22nd lowest
> Population: 1,963,692 – 14th smallest

Source: Imagesbybarbara / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

34. Virginia
> Annual state & local police funding: $313 per resident ($2.7 billion total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 2.8% (22nd lowest)
> Police officers in state: 245 per 100,000 people – 16th fewest (21,158 total)
> Violent crime rate: 209 crimes per 100,000 people – 6th lowest
> Population: 8,642,274 – 12th largest

Source: Ron Jenkins / Getty Images News via Getty Images

33. Texas
> Annual state & local police funding: $317 per resident ($9.4 billion total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 3.0% (19th highest)
> Police officers in state: 270 per 100,000 people – 25th most (79,745 total)
> Violent crime rate: 446 crimes per 100,000 people – 15th highest
> Population: 29,527,941 – 2nd largest

Source: csfotoimages / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

32. Wisconsin
> Annual state & local police funding: $326 per resident ($1.9 billion total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 2.8% (24th highest)
> Police officers in state: 254 per 100,000 people – 19th fewest (14,966 total)
> Violent crime rate: 323 crimes per 100,000 people – 20th lowest
> Population: 5,895,908 – 20th largest

Source: ablokhin / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

31. Louisiana
> Annual state & local police funding: $328 per resident ($1.5 billion total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 2.8% (25th highest)
> Police officers in state: 350 per 100,000 people – 3rd most (16,206 total)
> Violent crime rate: 639 crimes per 100,000 people – 5th highest
> Population: 4,624,047 – 25th largest

Source: Jason Kempin / Staff / Getty Images

30. Tennessee
> Annual state & local police funding: $328 per resident ($2.3 billion total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 3.4% (10th highest)
> Police officers in state: 306 per 100,000 people – 5th most (21,365 total)
> Violent crime rate: 673 crimes per 100,000 people – 3rd highest
> Population: 6,975,218 – 16th largest

Source: drial7m1 / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

29. Washington
> Annual state & local police funding: $328 per resident ($2.5 billion total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 2.3% (6th lowest)
> Police officers in state: 191 per 100,000 people – 2nd fewest (14,776 total)
> Violent crime rate: 294 crimes per 100,000 people – 16th lowest
> Population: 7,738,692 – 13th largest

Source: Ross Mantle / Getty Images News via Getty Images

28. Pennsylvania
> Annual state & local police funding: $331 per resident ($4.3 billion total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 2.5% (15th lowest)
> Police officers in state: 231 per 100,000 people – 12th fewest (29,914 total)
> Violent crime rate: 390 crimes per 100,000 people – 24th highest
> Population: 12,964,056 – 5th largest

Source: csfotoimages / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

27. North Dakota
> Annual state & local police funding: $332 per resident ($257 million total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 2.4% (11th lowest)
> Police officers in state: 265 per 100,000 people – 24th fewest (2,050 total)
> Violent crime rate: 329 crimes per 100,000 people – 21st lowest
> Population: 774,948 – 4th smallest

Source: csfotoimages / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

26. Montana
> Annual state & local police funding: $339 per resident ($374 million total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 3.1% (16th highest)
> Police officers in state: 237 per 100,000 people – 14th fewest (2,617 total)
> Violent crime rate: 470 crimes per 100,000 people – 11th highest
> Population: 1,104,271 – 8th smallest

Source: Scott Eisen / Getty Images News via Getty Images

25. Vermont
> Annual state & local police funding: $340 per resident ($219 million total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 2.3% (8th lowest)
> Police officers in state: 212 per 100,000 people – 5th fewest (1,366 total)
> Violent crime rate: 173 crimes per 100,000 people – 3rd lowest
> Population: 645,570 – 2nd smallest

Source: Roberto Galan / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

24. North Carolina
> Annual state & local police funding: $343 per resident ($3.6 billion total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 3.4% (11th highest)
> Police officers in state: 291 per 100,000 people – 11th most (30,721 total)
> Violent crime rate: 419 crimes per 100,000 people – 21st highest
> Population: 10,551,162 – 9th largest

23. Missouri
> Annual state & local police funding: $343 per resident ($2.1 billion total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 3.4% (8th highest)
> Police officers in state: 292 per 100,000 people – 10th most (17,991 total)
> Violent crime rate: 543 crimes per 100,000 people – 6th highest
> Population: 6,168,187 – 18th largest

Source: JohnMcGrawPhotography / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

22. Ohio
> Annual state & local police funding: $344 per resident ($4.1 billion total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 2.8% (25th lowest)
> Police officers in state: 249 per 100,000 people – 17th fewest (29,281 total)
> Violent crime rate: 309 crimes per 100,000 people – 18th lowest
> Population: 11,780,017 – 7th largest

Source: LornaWu / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

21. Massachusetts
> Annual state & local police funding: $348 per resident ($2.4 billion total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 2.2% (4th lowest)
> Police officers in state: 285 per 100,000 people – 17th most (19,923 total)
> Violent crime rate: 309 crimes per 100,000 people – 19th lowest
> Population: 6,984,723 – 15th largest

Source: Nickbeer / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

20. New Hampshire
> Annual state & local police funding: $355 per resident ($492 million total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 3.5% (6th highest)
> Police officers in state: 264 per 100,000 people – 23rd fewest (3,660 total)
> Violent crime rate: 146 crimes per 100,000 people – 2nd lowest
> Population: 1,388,992 – 10th smallest

Source: carminesalvatore / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

19. Connecticut
> Annual state & local police funding: $359 per resident ($1.3 billion total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 2.9% (23rd highest)
> Police officers in state: 261 per 100,000 people – 22nd fewest (9,408 total)
> Violent crime rate: 182 crimes per 100,000 people – 4th lowest
> Population: 3,605,597 – 22nd smallest

Source: frankysze / iStock via Getty Images

18. Kansas
> Annual state & local police funding: $361 per resident ($1.1 billion total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 3.2% (14th highest)
> Police officers in state: 300 per 100,000 people – 6th most (8,794 total)
> Violent crime rate: 425 crimes per 100,000 people – 19th highest
> Population: 2,934,582 – 16th smallest

Source: csfotoimages / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

17. New Mexico
> Annual state & local police funding: $361 per resident ($765 million total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 2.8% (23rd lowest)
> Police officers in state: 277 per 100,000 people – 22nd most (5,856 total)
> Violent crime rate: 778 crimes per 100,000 people – 2nd highest
> Population: 2,115,877 – 15th smallest

Source: jdornoff / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

16. Oregon
> Annual state & local police funding: $374 per resident ($1.6 billion total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 2.4% (12th lowest)
> Police officers in state: 210 per 100,000 people – 4th fewest (8,915 total)
> Violent crime rate: 292 crimes per 100,000 people – 15th lowest
> Population: 4,246,155 – 24th smallest

Source: anouchka / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

15. Hawaii
> Annual state & local police funding: $377 per resident ($543 million total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 2.7% (21st lowest)
> Police officers in state: 288 per 100,000 people – 14th most (4,154 total)
> Violent crime rate: 254 crimes per 100,000 people – 10th lowest
> Population: 1,441,553 – 11th smallest

14. Delaware
> Annual state & local police funding: $390 per resident ($391 million total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 2.9% (21st highest)
> Police officers in state: 256 per 100,000 people – 20th fewest (2,570 total)
> Violent crime rate: 432 crimes per 100,000 people – 17th highest
> Population: 1,003,384 – 6th smallest

Source: Chet Strange / Getty Images News via Getty Images

13. Colorado
> Annual state & local police funding: $399 per resident ($2.3 billion total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 3.1% (15th highest)
> Police officers in state: 286 per 100,000 people – 16th most (16,605 total)
> Violent crime rate: 423 crimes per 100,000 people – 20th highest
> Population: 5,812,069 – 21st largest

12. Wyoming
> Annual state & local police funding: $400 per resident ($231 million total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 2.2% (3rd lowest)
> Police officers in state: 322 per 100,000 people – 4th most (1,862 total)
> Violent crime rate: 234 crimes per 100,000 people – 8th lowest
> Population: 578,803 – the smallest

11. Arizona
> Annual state & local police funding: $401 per resident ($2.9 billion total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 4.1% (3rd highest)
> Police officers in state: 274 per 100,000 people – 23rd most (19,949 total)
> Violent crime rate: 485 crimes per 100,000 people – 9th highest
> Population: 7,276,316 – 14th largest

Source: jferrer / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

10. Minnesota
> Annual state & local police funding: $423 per resident ($2.4 billion total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 3.1% (17th highest)
> Police officers in state: 218 per 100,000 people – 8th fewest (12,419 total)
> Violent crime rate: 277 crimes per 100,000 people – 13th lowest
> Population: 5,707,390 – 22nd largest

Source: William Thomas Cain / Getty Images News via Getty Images

9. New Jersey
> Annual state & local police funding: $430 per resident ($4.0 billion total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 3.4% (9th highest)
> Police officers in state: 354 per 100,000 people – 2nd most (32,761 total)
> Violent crime rate: 195 crimes per 100,000 people – 5th lowest
> Population: 9,267,130 – 11th largest

Source: Roberto Galan / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

8. Illinois
> Annual state & local police funding: $448 per resident ($5.7 billion total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 3.4% (7th highest)
> Police officers in state: 299 per 100,000 people – 7th most (37,861 total)
> Violent crime rate: 426 crimes per 100,000 people – 18th highest
> Population: 12,671,469 – 6th largest

Source: Anna Bryukhanova / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

7. Florida
> Annual state & local police funding: $464 per resident ($10.1 billion total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 4.9% (the highest)
> Police officers in state: 287 per 100,000 people – 15th most (62,604 total)
> Violent crime rate: 384 crimes per 100,000 people – 25th highest
> Population: 21,781,128 – 3rd largest

Source: Ethan Miller / Getty Images News via Getty Images

6. Nevada
> Annual state & local police funding: $468 per resident ($1.5 billion total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 4.4% (2nd highest)
> Police officers in state: 273 per 100,000 people – 24th most (8,588 total)
> Violent crime rate: 460 crimes per 100,000 people – 12th highest
> Population: 3,143,991 – 19th smallest

Source: raksyBH / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

5. Rhode Island
> Annual state & local police funding: $469 per resident ($513 million total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 3.5% (5th highest)
> Police officers in state: 282 per 100,000 people – 20th most (3,090 total)
> Violent crime rate: 231 crimes per 100,000 people – 7th lowest
> Population: 1,095,610 – 7th smallest

Source: Allard1 / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

4. Maryland
> Annual state & local police funding: $493 per resident ($3.0 billion total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 3.8% (4th highest)
> Police officers in state: 291 per 100,000 people – 13th most (17,917 total)
> Violent crime rate: 400 crimes per 100,000 people – 23rd highest
> Population: 6,165,129 – 19th largest

Source: Melissa Kopka / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

3. Alaska
> Annual state & local police funding: $554 per resident ($406 million total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 2.7% (20th lowest)
> Police officers in state: 268 per 100,000 people – 25th fewest (1,963 total)
> Violent crime rate: 838 crimes per 100,000 people – the highest
> Population: 732,673 – 3rd smallest

Source: tillsonburg / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

2. New York
> Annual state & local police funding: $559 per resident ($11.1 billion total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 2.9% (22nd highest)
> Police officers in state: 407 per 100,000 people – the most (80,662 total)
> Violent crime rate: 364 crimes per 100,000 people – 25th lowest
> Population: 19,835,913 – 4th largest

Source: shakzu / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

1. California
> Annual state & local police funding: $568 per resident ($22.3 billion total)
> Police spending as a share of total state & local expenditures: 3.3% (12th highest)
> Police officers in state: 295 per 100,000 people – 8th most (115,744 total)
> Violent crime rate: 442 crimes per 100,000 people – 16th highest
> Population: 39,237,836 – the largest

Methodology

To identify the states spending the most on police, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 State & Local Government Finance Historical Datasets and Tables. States are ranked by total state and local spending on police in 2020 per state resident. 

We also considered state and local spending on police as a share of total state and local expenditures in 2020 from census finance tables, the number of police officers employed in each state from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 survey on state and local government employment. Data on violent crime rates are from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting program and are for 2020, the latest year for which data in all 50 states is available.

For per capita calculations, we used population data as of July 2021 from the U.S. Census Bureau. 

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