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Think New Jersey Police Are Overpaid? Try Doing the Job

Think New Jersey Police Are Overpaid? Try Doing the Job

Andover P.O. Joseph Indano

February 02, 2011

In light of a recent newspaper article about police salaries in New Jersey being among the highest in the nation: First off, let’s remind ourselves that New Jersey’s cost of living is one of, if not the highest, in the country, and that most jobs in New Jersey, including private sector jobs, pay more than other states.

The article in question is outright offensive to police officers for many reasons — Number One being that it implies that police work is “less dangerous” in suburban or rural areas compared to urban areas.

In some respects, that is true. However, in many suburban/rural departments, only one police officer provides coverage for the entire municipality, regardless of population or physical size. [In] a densely populated area, you are more likely to have more police officers, which equals more backup. The risk of assault or being killed increases when you work alone.

Crime happens everywhere, obviously at a higher rate in a more densely populated area. Nationwide, however, more police officers are killed in rural settings than in urban areas. From 2005-2009, the average number of police officers killed in the line of duty per year was 159, with an average age of 40.

The newspaper article fails to report the fact that the average life expectancy of a police officer is 53-57 years, according to a study done by the Police Policies Council. The average life expectancy of a non-police male is 73 years. That is an astonishing difference.

Post-retirement life expectancy for a police officer, no matter the age, is just three years.

Take into account the shift rotations, job-related stress, PTSD, etc. — not to mention the health risks of working a shift alone, such as cardiovascular diseases, obesity, sleep deprivation, diabetes, stroke, depression and mood swings, to name a few.

Depression and mood swings are the likely cause of a high suicide rate among police officers: 18.1 suicides per 100,000. That figure is 52% higher than that of non-police officers, according to an insurance claims study conducted by the FOP in 1995.

I’m not saying that we’re the only professionals susceptible to these health risks — just that it is another required part of this job that affects our quality of life.

Another involves assaults on officers. According to New Jersey Uniform Crime Reports, there were 2,588 reported assaults on police officers in New Jersey in 2009: 86 percent of those were physical assaults, 14 percent occurred with a weapon. What‘s more, 29 percent of assaults occurred during handling of “disturbance calls,” and 19 percent of assaults occurred affecting an arrest.

I challenge anyone to find a job in the private sector that reflects comparable numbers to all of those statistics listed above. The fact is that it is impossible to find a private sector job to compare with that of a police officer.

There is a reason we wear body armor, guns, pepper spray and batons when we work: There are people in this world who want to hurt us or kill us, simply because of who we are and what we represent. It is apples to oranges when any comparison is made between police work and private sector jobs, including salaries and benefits.

Another figure the newspaper failed to report is the comparison of municipal tax rates of towns with police departments to those without.

For example: The average property tax in Andover Township in 2009 was $5,651. The neighboring towns of Lafayette and Green Township are similar to Andover, both demographically and geographically. Neither of those townships funds a municipal police department, yet the average property taxes in those municipalities are $6,374 and $6,337 respectively — nearly $1,000 more than Andover. [NOTE: All of these figures are available on]

But let’s look closer:

A breakdown of taxes in Andover Township shows that the cost of the board of education to each household exceeds the amount of municipal tax by nearly $3,000.

Of course, property taxes are higher in some towns and lower in others. But the ratio of tax dollars to police services remains roughly the same. Essentially, every homeowner, on average, pays roughly $500 a year for a full-time police department that is available to every person who lives or travels through the municipality 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Read the original article at

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  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    All Haters need to Ride in scout car, Walk a beat, Walk a prison Gallery just ONE day.... then watch the video of the brave Detroit Officers who were attacked with a shotgun IN the Police station....The officers stood face to face with a SHOTGUN!!!! and prevailed by the grace of GOD.... How much is that worth to the idiot the keeps asking this dumb ass question ??? Please shut up and don't CALL 911 when u need an overpaid Cop

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    I really think the police are underpaid and should get more. I believe that if they pay basketball players, football players, and movie starrs millions of dollars to do what do why can't they pay a police officer all kinds of money too. They deal with higher risk situations everyday and their families from one day to the next don't know if they go on patrol if it is going to be their last or whether they come home and go out the next day and do it all over again. How fair do you think it is.

  • Picture_002_max50


    over 4 years ago


    As a fellow NJ officer who works about 30 miles from the author of this article-I thank you for taking the time to write this GEM. The state of NJ is so screwed up financially due to backroom deals and poor planning that we are the usual focus of the jerked off politicians. Our pension system has been stolen from as our past Governors have borrowed sevral BILLION dollars and never repaid these loans. We are underfunded due to this stealing and not making towns and cities pay their pension contributions but continuing to take out of our pay checks seems incredibly insane. NJ cops are doomed and I only HOPE to escape in two years with a 50% annual and no medical benefits package-GOOD LUCK FELLOW NJ OFFICERS-WE ARE IN FOR A BUMPY RIDE!!!ALL BE SAFE

  • 002_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Bump to bobska. He said it all

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    Good Article.

  • 014_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Let the people who think that Emergency Service Workers are overpaid spend a week on the job...
    The liberals that come up with this crap need to have a reality check and pull their soft shelled heads outta their southern region...

  • Dscf2012_max50


    over 4 years ago


    As a retired LEO, I don't believe that any Emergency Service worker, anywhere in the country is over paid. Most are underpaid. I, like many others, feel that there is something wrong with a society that pays top dollar to people who entertain use, whether they be movie stars or pro sports players. I believe that teachers, police, Fire and nurses should all be paid more.

  • Logo_20bus_20card_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Good article - I AM NOT LEO but recognize the sacrifice and dedication that it takes to be an LEO (I am the father to a paid firefighter/EMT and the same thing said about police careers and salaries can apply to them also). So take it from a taxpayer who knows and appreciates the sacrifice - Thanks.

    If I had my way - the starting salary in the NFL, NBA and MLB would start at $20,000 a year and the big bucks would go to all the unsung heros and working stiffs in the emergency services!

  • Gas_mask_1_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Another note...
    Isn't it funny that no one gripes or complains about how much it costs to retain their favorite elite player on their football team or their baseball roster, etc. Professional athletes are paid FAR BEYOND reason and bitch that they're not compensated enough for their game winning shot or clinch catch. When was the last time that professional athletes did anything "professional?" When was the last time they did anything productive and positive for the community? With exception to Pat Tillman, I've never once heard another professional player take up arms and commit to the possibility of the ultimate sacrifice for the good of the community/nation. This is the sign of a sad, disfunctional nation if we truly have our priorites so far out of line that we're quick to complain at the meager salary of any Law Enforcement Officer!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    You know it's funny that this article even made it here, given all the anti LE articles that show up. No working/actively serving LEO should ever be considered overpaid. I tell you who can be overpaid alot of times are the mayors, commissioners and representatives that have no way of justifying their six figure salary. Anyone who is in LE knows that at any given moment they can face imminent danger and could pay the ultimate sacrifice, how do you put a price tag on that. I don't see any commissioner or mayor going out in the street and trying to stop crime, most do it from the safety of their desk by ordering the very people they are scrutinizing to go and protect.

  • Gas_mask_1_max50


    over 4 years ago


    That is a damn fine article!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    There is no such thing as an "overpaid" Police Officer. If the citizens of New Jersey really believe that their Police are overpaid, let them do with out the Police for a month, or even a week, and I'm sure they will have a change of heart, more realistically let the citizens "ride along" for a taste of what they are paying for.

  • Justice-400_max50


    over 4 years ago


    A lot of officers are underpaid. A decent chunk are reasonably paid for the area they live in. None are overpaid in my opinion. Places that have high salaries also have a HUGE cost of living. I remember being amazed at the pay in San Francisco until I realized a town house in a decent area probably costs more than my life there.

  • Pic-0246_max50


    over 4 years ago


    some people think that they are overpaid? wow. i just have this feeling that police officers everywhere are underpaid

  • 100_1019_max50


    over 4 years ago


    WOW!!! What a great article!!! People (the average Citizen) needs to know what kind of shit we deal with on a average day! I'm one of those Deputies, that lives in a rural area, I'm considered a resident Deputy..... When I get called out at 0 dark 30, guess what people I'm the only Deputy around, my back up is over 2 hours away.. but I have chosen to live that way, because I love helping the public... Let me tell you something, people say hurtful things and yes the majority of criminals around here know where I live... I do get paid well, but it's not worth the endless hours I spend dealing with peoples SH!T,,,, You come to me with a problem and expect me to fix your problem, guess what sometimes I can't.. For the public, you need to thank an Officer when you see them, not ridicule them.. God Bless our brothers and sisters that wear the badge... We are the few that make that ultimate choice in our lives, to better yours... I don't mean to ramble but please thank an Officer of the Law when you see them, not make a freaking complaint because we are tired of dealing with you BS!!! I want all my brothers and sisters to stay safe, and remember we are the reason why the public, our neighbors are sleeping well tonight..... Don't judge us, love us for what we do, besides it's a job, and after all is said and done, we do a great job!!!!! We all deserve a raise, for the stuff we deal with!!!! We miss weddings, ball games, family events, ect you name it we have missed it just to protect your sorry ass!! Sorry about that!! Always remember to vest up and stay safe!!!!

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