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Top 25 Cities for Police Officers

Top 25 Cities for Police Officers

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Kevin Powers,

Not every U.S. city is created equal, and so when it comes time for a police officer to choose a department, there can be a lot to consider.

Understanding the overall health and standard of living in a city can make a big difference during one’s career. A high starting salary can be a major reason for signing on, but will it be worth if if rent dries up most of your pay, unemployment is rising and it takes you two hours to get to the station every morning?

Everything from department funding to the job market for your non-LEO spouse can have an impact on your life, and consequently a review of each prospective new home should be looked at with a wide lens.

So, which cities currently offer the most overall value?

We’ve adapted this list, which takes into account various economic and quality of life metrics, to provide anyone with an interest or opportunity to compare what these cities have to offer.

The Criteria

We looked at cities’ growth rates, average salaries and costs of living.

We factored in average commute time — which, according to experts, has a colossal impact on your overall happiness.

We looked not only at unemployment figures, but also at the rate that unemployment has actually increased since February 2008.

Whether you are just finishing up a degree and looking for a department, or are a seasoned LEO and are simply curious to see where your hometown ranks, read on to see which cities made the list.

The List: City #25 >>

  • Photo_user_banned_big


    about 6 years ago


    hhmmmm..., thought Morgantown, WV, led the nation in growth and unemployment?.......In fact wasn't their a special on Dateline NBC, or the TODAY SHOW about Morgantown, WV? Oh well, lowest pay, lowest cost of living, and LOWEST CRIME RATE!!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 6 years ago


    Im surprised Philly is on the list, considering the recent rash of OIS's they've had. I will say that I spend quite a bit of time in Philly (I live 1.5 hours away and am a huge Flyers and Phillies fan), and I love the city (especially Old city). It's got great history and wonderful restaurants and nightlife. And, I've spoken casually with numerous on-duty officers during my visits, and I've encountered nothing but professionalism and genuine love for fellow officers.

  • Dnc_shirt_max50


    about 6 years ago



  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 6 years ago I come!

  • Img_0933_max50


    about 6 years ago


    Surprised by some of the cities on the list.

  • 004_max50


    about 6 years ago


    Wow I can say that the only two places that I have lived my life at on on this list. San Diego and Charlotte, I do have to saw I miss San Diego.

  • Pb080007_max50


    about 6 years ago


    would love to move to Austin, Texas....the city is great, schools are great for the kids.
    im to old for PD but corrections is hiring and so is sheriffs dept...

  • Jpd_new_max50


    about 6 years ago


    This list was made for larger metro Cities, not State or County agencies. Betcha the surrounding suburbs around the Cities make more and get the benefits of metro living without having to live in that City.

  • Dscn0629a_max50


    about 6 years ago


    San Antonio, TX and Austin, TX are the top 2 on this list. I'm cursed with living in Houston. Go figure...

  • 75_1_b_normal_max50


    about 6 years ago


    Looking at the list the one thing that really amazed me was that the starting pay for a police officer in Boston is over $77,000.- now that is a nice starting pay....had I know that 27 years ago I would have moved to Boston and then started testing to get on the PD. That has to be "THE TOP" or in the top 10 highest starting pay levels in the U.S.

  • Black_max50


    about 6 years ago


    Yeah a couple cities on this list isn't hiring. Where was Las Vegas Metro PD they are always hiring!?

  • 34790005_max50


    about 6 years ago



    Police Cadet $2,369.00 (PER MONTH)
    Probationary Police Officer $38,340 (ANNUALLY)
    Police Officer - Step A-F $44,136 - $60,120 (ANNUALLY)
    Police Detective - Step A-D $61,800 - $66,828 (ANNUALLY)
    Police Sergeant - Step A-C $70,200 - $73,020 (ANNUALLY)
    Police Lieutenant - Step A-C $78,612 - $81,792 (ANNUALLY)
    Police Captain - Step A-C $90,216 - $93,852 (ANNUALLY)


    VA Certified: The Training Academy is certified for full-time Veteran's Administration Education Benefits.

    Promotional Opportunities: Opportunity for promotion and corresponding salary increases based on Civil Service Exams after serving at least two years in rank.

    Night Differential Pay: $350.00/month

    Language Skills Pay: $50.00/month

    Standby Pay: Officers assigned to S.W.A.T., S.W.A.T. alternates, K-9, Bomb, and Crisis Negotiators receive $157.00/month.

    Active Assignment Pay: Officers assigned to the Blue E.A.G.L.E. Helicopter Unit or serve as coordinators for the Volunteers in Policing Program receive $157.00/month.

    Education Incentive Pay for Degrees:

    Education Incentive Pay for Accredited Hours (prior to degree):
    65-94 = $60.00/month
    95-124 = $90.00/month
    125-154 = $120.00/month
    155-184 = $150.00/month
    185-214 = $180.00/month
    215-229 = $210.00/month
    230+ = $240.00/month

    Certification Pay: Basic Certificate=$30, Intermediate=$130.00, Advanced=$170.00, Masters=$210.00

    Longevity Pay: Each officer's regular rate of pay is increased 3% for each five years of longevity, to a maximum of 30 years or 18%. The increase is independent of any other increases gained through the "Collective Bargaining Agreement."

    Leave Conversion or Buy Back: The City will buy back or convert either in "pay" or in "other forms of leave" at the officer's discretion, up to ten (10) unused sick leave days per year.

    Court Pay

    Education Reimbursement Program

    Insurance: Health, Dental, Optical, Life (includes dependent coverage)

    Accumulated Leave: Vacation, Holiday, Military, Sick

    Bonus Days: Quarterly bonus for unused sick days.

    Clothing Allowance ($720.00)

    Maximum Allowable Retirement Benefits

    Physical Fitness Incentive: The City of San Antonio and the San Antonio Police Department are committed to a healthy, physically fit and well-trained police department. In demonstrating that committment, officers who participate and meet standards established in a police academy-sponsored wellness program, or meet the physical standards established by the academy during the annual in-service training, are rewarded with administrative leave up to 5 days.

  • Lakewood_pd_max50


    about 6 years ago


    This list is interesting I suppose. I do not understand how Honolulu, Boston, or San Diego make this list when they have some of the highest cost of living in the country. Then you put Killadelphia on here where the top pay is 54K and change base salary? Seriously, C'mon. I have heard Austin is a great place to live and work but who in their right mind wants to move to Buffalo, Rochester, etc?? I could care less that no city in NJ is listed. Though tit for tat, our salaries and benefits match up to ANY department in the U.S. Alas, and to give folks an idea what I am talking about the NJSP (New Jersey State Police) top out at $104,000 for a Trooper 1 based on last year, with no cost medical benefits and a great pension. So I ask again how do you compile a list like this?

  • _2-dirty-harry-make-t-shirt_max50


    about 6 years ago


    cmh308, I live in Cincinnati and i am surprised Columbus was listed lol

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 6 years ago

    WOW. Not one Arizona PD, and CA had only one in the top 25.

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