A key finding: Of the departments we surveyed, 40% do not have their manual online at all.

We began this work by reviewing the manuals of the 100 largest police departments in the United States, based on number of sworn officers. Our survey found of those hundred, 40 do not have their manual online at all.

Further, while many jurisdictions may post some of their policies, they fail to post the manual in its entirety — undercutting the first critical step of true transparency.

The graph to the right divides the 100 police departments into the four regions used for the U.S. Census. The calculations were carried out relative to number of cities found in each region, rather than using absolute numbers, to account for the discrepancy in population between different states.

Our survey found fewer departments had their manuals online in their entirety compared to having some of the manual online at all. For example, though the West has the highest number of manuals online, the Midwest actually has the highest proportion of departments that posted the entire manual.


A key finding: Of the manuals posted online, 75% are missing at least one component of transparency

Of the manuals that were only in their entirety, only 15 met all five components of transparency, while 45 departments were missing at least one component.

Among the departments that posted their manuals online: