Police Officer Average Salaries and Wages
Police officers are one of the hardest working people. They literally lay down their lives as a part of their job. However, their pay isn’t that great when compared to others like Physicians or Veterinarians. They do get a lot of benefits being a cop, though. How much a cop earns, depends on a lot of factors like where he works, how much he or she works and what unit he or she is assigned to. Let us look at the average salaries of different cops and see how one can earn more.
One of the most important factors that determine the salary of a cop is the city he or she is working in. Some of the poorer cities or counties cannot afford to pay their cops all that much. They are paid minimum wage and must buy their own equipment. In larger cities, the cops are paid relatively well and get an allowance for equipment and uniform.
The highest paid salary was recorded in New Jersey at about $81,000. South Mississippi, on the other hand, recorded the lowest salary ever with an average of $31,000. This again changes with the region one is working in. If one is situated in a metropolitan area, he or she is likely to earn a bit more. On the flip side, someone assigned to a small town might hardly earn even if he or she is in New Jersey.
Just like other jobs, if you have more experience being a cop, you get paid more. As a police officer, your salary is likely to increase about 30-40% if you have about 20 years of experience over your fellow candidates. The mean average in USA inclusive of all ages is about $49,000.
As a police officer, you can get promoted to a variety of different jobs which are likely to pay more. Some of these are Security Officer, Police detective, Police chief, and much more. Each of these come with a considerable salary bump. The usual ladder follows as Patrol Office < Detective < Supervisor < Chief < Lieutenant < Commissioner. The commissioner obviously stands to get a salary of around $71,000 or even $80,000 with experience as an average salary.
As mentioned before, another factor that decides your wage depends on the unit you are working in. For example, if you are in narcotics, you might earn more than a normal patrol office. Or if you are in homicide, you might earn a hefty amount too. A forensic science technician may earn something around $55,000 (while a Sheriff’s patrol may earn $57,000 in the same scenario). Probation officers earn just a little bit less compared that of forensic technicians.
Another factor deciding a police officer’s income is the number of hours they put in. If they work late nights on a case or they have to do some court duty they are paid extra. They are also paid extra if they work overtime or on weekends.
Many people do not mind the salary that a cop gets mostly because of the benefits that they receive. One of the biggest benefits is that of pension. Officially some need to have worked at least 15 years in the force to receive a pension. Thus, one can start early and then retire by the age of 40 to receive a pension and work in some other job.
You also get good healthcare insurance to help yourself in case you get injured or suffer from some illness, which in case of cops is quite common.
Another unofficial perk is that you can get a lot of free food and drinks when you are in uniform. However, this is stepping into moral grounds and then it is completely on your work ethic if you want to go through with it or not. The same applies for any connections you have made with people during your service.
You also, of course, do get meet some famous people while trying to protect them or providing them with security.
The job of a police offer is hard and the pay isn’t all that high. But, if you have a strong sense of justice and the urge to protect people, then this is the job for you. Moreover, it is a very respectable job, which lets you have a secure retirement and gives you healthcare benefits. What more could one ask for after saving the day and being proclaimed a hero in the eyes of some?