The state of Florida has 270 police departments, including those serving 19 universities and colleges, six school districts, eight airports, and two Native American tribes. The various departments employ a total of 22,506 sworn officers, or 122 sworn officers per 100,000 residents, which ranks Florida 31st in the nation in number of local police per capita. S0me of the smaller towns in the state do not have their own police departments, but instead contract with the county sheriff’s department or a neighboring city’s agency to provide law enforcement services. Some of the police departments operate their own jail or detention facilities, especially in metropolitan areas, while others use the county jail. Although city police generally have jurisdiction only within the city limits and county sheriff’s department officers tend to limit their operations to unincorporated areas, many departments have a policy of mutual aid where they may operate within the other’s jurisdiction in times of need.
By state law, when stopping an individual in Florida, a police officer is required to identify themselves before taking action, even if they are in plain clothes. They must also provide their name upon request and inform a person about the reason they are being stopped or questioned. They are prohibited from excessive use of force, but are able to use the force necessary to make an arrest if a suspect resists or flees.
The Miami-Dade County School District has the third largest police department among public schools in the nation, with 210 full-time sworn officers. The largest police department in Florida (and the 9th largest in the entire United States) serves all of Miami-Dade County, since there is no sheriff’s department there. As of 2008, the department employed 3,093 full-time sworn officers, and in 2014, the department made a total of 30,088 arrests.