Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data shows police officers make anywhere from approximately $19,000 to $131,000 with a lot of variation depending on department level and region.
A sheriff’s patrol officer makes an average of $33.66 per hour and an average of $70,000 per year, with a huge difference in annual pay depending on jurisdiction and region. California police officers make the most at $107,440 and Mississippi police officers make the least at $37,210.
On a local level, data from BLS shows that in the year 2020, the average annual pay range was $19,000 in some places to $131,000 in others.
A Police Chief Weighs In
Art Acevedo, Miami Police Chief and president of the Major Cities Chiefs Association asserted, “We have tens of thousands of police departments across the nation, which is probably the most inefficient and ineffective policing model in the free world.”
Adding, “Consequently, what happens [is] you have departments where officers are fairly compensated and you have departments where officers across the country, they don’t qualify for [Aid to Families with Dependent Children], AFDC, food stamps. They’re close to it, and they have to work more than one job to actually make ends meet.”
In Aguadilla-Isabela, Peurto Rico, officers make $18,980 on average per year. While, in Guayama, Puerto Rico, officers make $21,370 on average per year.
The places in the United States where police officers make less than $40,000 on average per year include parts of Arkansas and Mississippi, as well as Central Louisiana, Macon, Georgia. Plus, East Georgia’s nonmetropolitan area, Northeast South Carolina, and South-Central Kentucky.
“You look across the country, there are a lot of departments where officers are underpaid, which is a recruitment issue, a retention issue, and not to mention a quality of the candidate you’re going to get in the first place issue,” Acevedo told Fox News.
It Pays to Be a Cop on the West Coast
At the same time, officers in Sunnyvale, San Jose, and Santa Clara are making the highest annual salary of the country’s metropolitan areas at $131,090. In second place are San Francisco, Oakland, and Hayward with an average salary of $122,570. All 10 of the highest-paid police departments in the metropolitan area are located in California.
Top-paid nonmetropolitan areas for police officers are North Valley, Eastern Sierra, and North Coast regions of California. The average annual pay starts at $82,740 and goes up to $93,570. The same goes for Hawaii at $84,370 and Alaska’s nonmetropolitan area at $79,230.
Retired police Sgt. Betsy Brantner-Smith, National Police Association spokesperson, noted how much police compensation varied so regionally, such as in Mississippi. Looking at the state as a whole, the average hourly wage for most police officers is $17.89, according to BLS numbers.
“I made a lot more than that in the Chicago metro area,” she told Fox News. “There is no real standard — it has to reflect where you live. So, I was a cop in the Chicago suburbs. It’s pretty expensive to live there, but not as expensive as Los Angeles. And so it does need to reflect the area.”
In Illinois, it’s $37.72, and in California, it’s $51.65. The National Police Association spokeswoman noted the range of training and specialty information they need to have to respond to the litany of calls.
National Police Association Thinks Cops Can Do Anything
“As a police officer for 29 years, I did everything from, dealing with the mentally ill … to negotiating hostages out of tricky situations and talking to people out of killing themselves and delivering a baby, and tasering somebody 30 years younger than me through a neighbor who just committed a burglary, and everything in between,” National Police Association Spokesman Brantner said.
“In today’s atmosphere, [there is] the expectation that police officers are going to have so much more specialized training, especially when we’re talking about mental illness and utilization of various types of weapons and making sure that we’re always exactly within policy and things like that.”
Taking Shots for the American Government
It is estimated that there were 654,000 officers employed at the non-executive level or non-supervisory level in the United States. Acevedo said, “I think that having competitive salaries is important and in a lot of places, police officers are not paid well,” Acevedo said. He said mistrust of government was at a ‘historical, fever-pitch high’ and police are “the most visible cog of government.”
“The profession is under such scrutiny by a lot of folks that it’s actually creating, not just, again, a recruitment problem, but it’s also creating a retention problem. We’re starting to see more officers retire as soon as they can,” Acevedo added. “It’s becoming more and more apparent of a challenge and a growing challenge for a lot of agencies across the country.”
Spread the News and Pay Our Cops
There should be a huge wage increase for those officers who are getting a lower rate of pay. They work hard to protect us and they deserve what’s fair. This should be more widespread knowledge. Maybe if it gets the attention it deserves, we will stop taking advantage of these keepers of the peace and pay them what they deserve.
About National Police AssociationThe National Police Association is a non-profit organization whose mission is to educate law enforcement supporters to help police departments meet their goals. Learn more about the National Police Association on https://nationalpolice.org/.