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10 Highest Paying States for Law Enforcement (2011 Edition)

10 Highest Paying States for Law Enforcement (2011 Edition)

Kendra Weikman | PoliceLink

We know that you want to be in law enforcement not for the glory, but because it’s your call. It’s important to remember however that not every state is created equal. When it comes time for a police officer to choose a department there is often a lot to consider.

Understanding the overall health and standard of living in each state 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 states 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 states have to offer.

The Criteria

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

Mean hourly wages were used to calculate each state’s average officer salary. Overtime was not considered.

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 states made the list.

The List: State #10 >>

  • Alex_max50


    over 2 years ago


    New York should be up on this list

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    suffolk co long island NY cops make 105,000.00 per year, with free uniforms and much more.I need to stop to sick to go on

  • Me_love_max50


    over 4 years ago



  • Headshot_max50


    over 4 years ago


    It's nice to know that I make about 20,000 less than the average in my state. i need a new job.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    Missing from this list:
    New York

    NYPD salary after 5 years: $90k plus
    Long Island (and surrounding areas): $100k plus

  • Thinker_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Does this average salary include promotions, step increases, and overtime? What is the cost of living in the listed states? What are the state tax rates? What benefits are/are not provided? What are the retirement benefits? What are the working conditions along with advancement and promotion opportunities?

    Bottom line is that your Base Salary is not everything. i changed departments once and got a substantial raise. I also had to pay more for my benefits and more in taxes which resulted in a net loss in pay. The grass is not always greener on the other side...


  • Blueshield_max50


    over 4 years ago


    I wouldn't mind working in Colorado, do they take transfers?

  • Please_hold_still_max50


    over 4 years ago


    80,000 is the lowest pay for nj. That's for the big cities that are full of crime, like camden, newark, and atlantic city. The upscale towns pay between 100,000 and 130,000. That's without over time. Just imagine their retirement with over time and promotions and cost of living. They could have a 100,000 a year retirement, if not more.

  • Joe3wolfcarm_max50


    over 4 years ago


    I am surprised Texas isn't on the list! Dallas, Austin, and Houston are hiring police officers and they all pay pretty well for the cost of living. $35,000-$79,000 after 3-5 years + unlimited O.T.

    In Texas you can make $100,000 easily if you don't mind working a few extra hours O.T. here and their...

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago

    Guess this article was written before layoffs, paycuts, furloughs and nonsense.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    Can sure agree it isn't any dept. in Florida!!!!!

  • Img_2225_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Well, say what you will, I know, a tough place to police and all that...but check this link out below...good pay

  • Lpd_patch_max50


    over 4 years ago


    There's more to look at than just salary. WA may be #3, and barely in the top 30% for quality of living, but when it comes to retirement we're near the bottom of the heap. If you're just getting started or near the beginning of your career, start planning now for retirement. It will be here before you know it.0

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago

    Minnesota is #5!!!

  • 2246136073_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Not surprising my state (Tn) isn't on this list! Officers here can make more money working as team leaders at McDonald's...not joking. We actually have a reserve officer at my department that works at McDonalds who won't work full time with the department because of the pay cut! Good 'ol southern politics makes being a cop here tough.

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