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Ask/Answered is a weekly feature for reader-submitted questions. Follow the blog online at www.cumberlink.com:

How many police officers are employed in Cumberland County?

The latest available data on the total number of people employed by police departments in Cumberland County is from 2016.

As of 2016, there were 472 police officers employed at departments across Cumberland County. There were also an additional 70 full-time civilian staff employed at the police departments, according to State Police.

This equates to about 1.7 police officers per 1,000 residents in the county, which is one of the lowest rates in the state, according to the State Police report.

Neighboring Franklin County had the lowest rate of officers per resident with 1.39 officers employed per 1,000 residents.

Cameron County was the top with 8.38 officers per 1,000 residents. However, Cameron County has a population of less than 5,000 people.

There are less than 40 officers employed in Cameron County.

There is strong evidence that increased quality policing is a good deterrent for crime. However, there is little correlation between the number of officers and violent crime in Pennsylvania.

For example, 50 counties have more officers per 1,000 residents than Cumberland County but only 13 have fewer violent crimes, according to Pennsylvania State Police.

Philadelphia, which employs the sixth highest number of officers per 1,000 residents, has the highest rate of violent crime.

About 90 percent of officers employed in Cumberland County in 2016 were male, according to State Police.

The number of police officers in the county has grown substantially over the last two decades.

In 2000, less than 300 officers were employed in the county. That equates to a more than 50 percent increase in the number officers.

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Civilian staff for police has grown at an even faster pace.

In 2000, 27 full time civilian staff were employed by police departments in the county, compared to 70 in 2016, more than 150 percent growth during that time frame.

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Email Joshua Vaughn at jvaughn@cumberlink.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Sentinel_Vaughn.

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