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Police Officer Salaries

Police officers can earn a good salary in addition to attractive benefits that may include a uniform allowance, paid vacation and holidays, medical insurance, and retirement benefits. A variety of factors impact police officer pay; major influences include location, primary duties, police force size, and years of experience. As police officers gain experience and education and move into positions of leadership, there are good opportunities for salary increases. Continue reading to learn more about influences on police officer salaries, find information on the top-paying states for police officers, and access additional resources.

How Much Does a Police Officer Make?

As of 2016, the national average annual salary for police officers of all types was $61,600.1 The highest-paid 10% of officers earned over $102,750, while the lowest-paid 10% earned less than $34,970.1 Geographic area has a particularly strong influence on the level of salary police officers can expect, as standards for police pay vary from state-to-state and also from rural to metro areas. As of 2016, the highest-paying state for police officers was California, at $96,660, while the lowest-paying state was Mississippi, at $34,550.2

While the entry-level education required by many police departments remains a high school diploma or GED, a growing number of departments are showing a preference towards hiring college graduates by requiring college credit or through salary increases and other incentives. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, as of 2013 nearly one in four local police officers worked for departments requiring at least an associate’s degree, which is typically equivalent to 60 credit hours.3 During this time period, 29% of police departments serving populations of one million or more required an associate’s degree.3 The table below provides an outline of police officer salary as well as typical education requirements.

RoleTypical Highest Education Level AchievedNumber Employed in the USAverage Annual Openings10-Year Job GrowthAverage Salary
Detectives and Criminal Investigators1,3High school diploma (38%)111,0007505%$78,120
First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives4,6High school diploma (37%)105,0007107%$51,730
Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers (All Categories)2,5High school diploma (35%)684,0004,9505% to 9%$59,680
Transit and Railroad Police7Bachelor’s degree (28%)5,000405% to 9%$66,610

Police Officer Salary Index and Outlook by State

In order to help you assess your career options for becoming a police officer, the following sortable table displays the average annual salary for patrol officers in each state, the percentage of the median home price that the annual salary buys, and the projected job growth for police officers from 2014 to 2024.

RankStateUS Average2016 Avg. Police Salary2$62,7602017 Zillow Median Property List Price9$205,100% of Median Home Average Salary Buys (Higher = Better)31%Projected Patrol Officer Employment in 202410714,2002014 Total Patrol Officers Employed10680,00010-Year Growth Rate (2014-2024)105%Best States for Police (Avg=1)1.00
1Texas$60,350$172,60035%72,29060,79019%1.51
2Oklahoma$44,650$117,00038%9,5408,33015%1.48
3Kentucky$42,810$137,60031%8,9807,39022%1.48
4Iowa$56,310$129,70043%5,0904,7707%1.41
5Ohio$57,850$130,20044%23,95023,1004%1.35
6Indiana$51,960$124,10042%11,87011,2306%1.34
7Michigan$57,240$136,60042%17,52016,9403%1.27
8Arkansas$38,020$122,20031%6,5805,84013%1.23
9Illinois$70,850$170,30042%33,01032,8500%1.18
10West Virginia$42,130$102,90041%3,7703,7501%1.16
11Utah$50,600$258,30020%5,2404,30022%1.16
12Tennessee$43,810$145,50030%13,12011,80011%1.16
13Nebraska$55,180$154,80036%3,0902,9405%1.14
14Missouri$47,510$143,20033%13,74012,7907%1.14
15Kansas$46,140$127,80036%6,5106,2504%1.13
16Pennsylvania$65,130$162,50040%28,15028,1100%1.13
17Nevada$72,040$255,60028%5,0904,56012%1.12
18Alabama$43,250$126,50034%11,36010,7606%1.12
19Arizona$62,470$230,60027%10,4609,33012%1.10
20Montana$52,880$205,80026%1,6801,49013%1.08
21North Dakota$53,800$201,40027%1,4601,31011%1.07
22Idaho$50,660$200,80025%2,6002,32012%1.05
23Georgia$40,770$160,10025%24,44021,91012%1.04
24Florida$57,160$214,80027%45,86041,69010%1.03
25Mississippi$34,550$114,40030%7,8307,3606%1.03
26Delaware$66,440$223,70030%1,8601,7506%1.01
27Colorado$68,290$341,60020%11,4109,87016%1.00
28North Carolina$45,280$164,90027%21,58020,0008%0.99
29Wisconsin$58,050$169,10034%12,25012,1801%0.98
30Virginia$54,940$246,70022%20,86018,56012%0.97
31South Carolina$42,180$147,00029%11,80011,2505%0.94
32Washington$76,340$348,00022%10,4609,42011%0.93
33South Dakota$46,000$174,80026%1,9801,8706%0.90
34Minnesota$61,870$211,60029%10,76010,4903%0.89
35Alaska$79,510$271,30029%1,4001,3702%0.88
36New Mexico$50,420$175,10029%4,2004,1002%0.88
37Wyoming$55,490$196,60028%1,2601,2302%0.86
38New York$70,990$307,00023%59,90056,3506%0.83
39Maryland$64,010$273,00023%15,00014,1806%0.82
40Connecticut$68,520$247,00028%6,2906,2101%0.81
41Vermont$48,360$225,00021%1,4301,3407%0.79
42New Hampshire$54,660$251,30022%3,0102,8406%0.78
43Maine$45,700$211,60022%2,2202,1105%0.75
44New Jersey$87,490$311,10028%22,86023,270-2%0.74
45California$96,660$519,10019%73,70068,7007%0.73
46Oregon$68,170$316,20022%5,3705,1604%0.72
47Rhode Island$57,180$261,40022%2,0201,9703%0.69
48Louisiana$39,390$204,90019%12,06011,5305%0.67
49Massachusetts$66,220$383,00017%16,78016,5801%0.52
50Hawaii$70,060$613,50011%3,1803,0604%0.43
51Washington DC$73,250$544,70013%5,9506,000-1%0.35

Additional Resources

References:
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, Police and Detectives: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/police-and-detectives.htm
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers: https://www.bls.gov/OES/current/oes333051.htm
3. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Local Police Departments, 2013: Personnel, Policies, and Practices: https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/lpd13ppp.pdf
3. O*NET OnLine, Police Detectives: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/33-3021.01
4. O*NET OnLine, First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/33-1012.00
5. O*NET OnLine, Police Patrol Officers: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/33-3051.01
6. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/about/data-for-occupations-not-covered-in-detail.htm
7. O*NET OnLine, Transit and Railroad Police: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/33-3052.00
9. Zillow.com: https://www.zillow.com/home-values/
10. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm