Raleigh is a wonderful city with a population approaching 500,000 people. It is livable, with plenty of affordable housing, parks, good schools, shopping, and good neighborhoods. And it has a police force – the Raleigh Police Department – that is one of the 75 largest police forces in the country with just over 800 sworn officers and roughly 100 additional civilian support staff.
Since good policing is an integral part of a viable community, it’s important that the police officers come from and represent the people they police. That prevents the police from being regarded as an occupying force that comes in during work hours to police a different population from the neighbors and people who they live with day-to-day.
According to 538, the data and statistics website, Raleigh barely 25 percent of the RPD police force in 2010 actually lived within the confines of the city. That is a striking figure – just shy of 75 percent of the police offices who patrol the cities streets actually lived within the city boundaries for the latest year that 538 published data.
Poor policing is a function of many different conditions. But certainly a police force that does not reside among the people who it policies is a problem that needs to be corrected.