The police force is one of the hardest working groups of people in the country. At least 800,000 people have sworn to protect the peace in our country, putting other’s lives before their own. With the danger they face every day, one cannot help but ask if these people receive the salary they deserve.

According to the occupational outlook handbook regularly released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is an expected growth of 7% in the number of police officers in the coming decade. That would result in 53,400 new officers. Hence, one can deduce that there is still something promising in having a career as a law enforcer.

The same handbook of BLS states that the average annual salary of a police officer is around $61,600. This amount makes them one of the highest grossing professionals in the country. It is almost double the average amount every professional in every field receives which is $37,040.

The median annual salaries of police officers were also shown to vary depending on what type of employer a police officer works for. With an average yearly salary of $82,860, police officers under the federal government have the highest wage.

Coming in second are those working under state police departments with a salary of $62,970 annually. Law enforcers working for local governments, on the other hand, earn a lesser $60,160 annually. Lastly, educational institutions that employ police officers pay the least annual salary of $50,360. (1)

Factors That Affect A Police Officer Salary

Average salaries can give us a quick glimpse of how much police officers make; however, it does not show how wide the variations are for their wages. Furthermore, it is unable to disclose the factors that may result in these differences.

Many factors can affect how much a police officer can receive. These factors may include the location of the police department, the officer’s position, their years of experience and more.

The location of the police department is one of the most significant contributing factors on how much one will receive as a police officer. Wealthier states often give out higher wages because they are more capable of rewarding their public servants. However, there are more crimes committed in urbanized areas; hence, such salaries are fair and just.

For example, the high earning state of California awards their police officers with an hourly rate of $47.23. This rate equates to an annual salary of $98.250 for full-time officers. On the other hand, police officers from Mississippi earn a significantly lower hourly wage of $16.48, or $34,280 annually. (2)

The salary for Californian police officers is at least 50% higher than the average annual wage nationwide. Meanwhile, those from Mississippi are almost half than the same average. The idea that the per capita income of a state affects the salaries of police officers is supported by the fact that California has a higher per capita than Mississippi. (3)


Police and Detectives. (2017, October 24). Retrieved November 13, 2017, from Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Salary Finder. (n.d.). Retrieved November 13, 2017, from Career One Stop:

ACS Demographic And Housing Estimates 2010-2014 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates”. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2016-02-12.