Here’s How Much the Police Make in All 50 States

VETERAN POLICE OFFICER woman female
Straight 8 Photography / Shutterstock.com

Protecting and serving the American public isn’t an easy job, and it can be a dangerous one.

As former President Barack Obama put it in 2016:

“[W]e tell the police, ‘You’re a social worker; you’re the parent; you’re the teacher; you’re the drug counselor.’ We tell them to keep those neighborhoods in check at all costs and do so without causing any political blowback or inconvenience; don’t make a mistake that might disturb our own peace of mind.”

So, how much do the police make for keeping the peace? The average hourly wage in each state ranges from $17 to $49.

Following are the average annual and hourly wages of police and sheriff’s officers in all 50 states, along with the number of such jobs in each state. The states are ranked based on the average annual wage, from lowest to highest.

The information comes from the latest occupational employment and wage data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is from May 2018.

50. Mississippi

Police Officer Partners
Sean Locke Photography / Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 7,520
Average annual wage: $35,550
Average hourly wage: $17.09

Mississippi may have the lowest pay for police in the nation, at just over $17 an hour, on average, but it is also the single more affordable state in the nation, according to a 2018 cost-of-living ranking of all 50 states and the District of Columbia produced by the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center.

49. Arkansas

generic police cars rain
Checubus / Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 6,030
Average annual wage: $39,560
Average hourly wage: $19.02

Arkansas police are among the lowest paid in the nation, on average. That salary level was among a number of factors — including job hazards, opportunity and quality of life — that led a 2018 WalletHub ranking to declare Arkansas the single worst state in the nation to be in this profession.

48. Louisiana

Police LA
amadeustx/Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 11,810
Average annual wage: $41,550
Average hourly wage: $19.98

Louisiana police salaries are the third-lowest in the nation, on average, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Meanwhile, the state’s cost of living ranks closer to the middle among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. According to WalletHub, Louisiana is the second-toughest place in the country to be a cop.

47. South Carolina

StacieStauffSmith Photos/Shutterstock.com
StacieStauffSmith Photos/Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 11,180
Average annual wage: $42,280
Average hourly wage: $20.33

While police salaries in South Carolina are near the bottom of the stack, the cost of living in this coastal state is almost exactly in the middle among U.S. states.

46. Georgia

Police GA
Sean Pavone/Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 22,410
Average annual wage: $42,990
Average hourly wage: $20.67

There’s a big spread between what officers make in big cities like Atlanta and Georgia’s small rural communities. As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, in tiny Taliaferro County, with less than 2,000 residents, the starting salary for a deputy was just $25,000 in 2017.

45. West Virginia

Police honor guard, West Virginia
Jeff McCoy / Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 3,460
Average annual wage: $43,590
Average hourly wage: $20.96

There’s not much job opportunity for law enforcement officers in this state, according to WalletHub, which placed it last on that metric in its ranking of best and worst states for police to live and work. However, in terms of quality of life for law officers, West Virginia ranks near the top, at No. 4.

44. Tennessee

Police TN
photosounds/Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 13,410
Average annual wage: $44,600
Average hourly wage: $21.44

Tennessee is not an easy place to be a police officer — it comes in at No. 43 on the WalletHub ranking. Among the factors at play is a high rate of violent crime, which was on the rise in 2017 (according to the latest FBI statistics) even as that rate fell in the United States as a whole.

43. Kentucky

Kentucky policy in parade
Roberto Galan / Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 7,830
Average annual wage: $45,600
Average hourly wage: $21.92

Police in Kentucky have to contend with a higher-than-average rate of property crimes than other places in the nation, according to the security system company SafeWise, but the state’s rate of violent crime is lower than the national average.

42. Alabama

Police AL
Bennian/Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 11,410
Average annual wage: $45,930
Average hourly wage: $22.08

Although Alabama police incomes are near the bottom in the U.S., on average, the state was the sixth most affordable to live in according to cost-of-living rankings from the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center.

41. Oklahoma

Police OK
betto rodrigues/Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 7,480
Average annual wage: $46,120
Average hourly wage: $22.18

Oklahoma police salaries are in the bottom 10 nationally, but the Sooner State had the second-lowest cost of living in the Missouri study and WalletHub ranked it No. 13 among best states for police to live and work.

40. Kansas

Police Kansas
Dave Navarro Jr/Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 5,920
Average annual wage: $48,350
Average hourly wage: $23.25

Law enforcers in Kansas don’t get rich on this salary, but WalletHub ranks the state No. 3 on the quality of life for police officers, a category weighing such factors as housing affordability, family friendliness and public attitudes on police.

39. North Carolina

Police NC
meunierd/Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 22,350
Average annual wage: $48,420
Average hourly wage: $23.28

Although the pay for North Carolina police officers falls in the bottom quarter, this state enjoys high rankings by WalletHub for those professionals in the categories of opportunity and competition (No. 15) and job hazards and protections (No. 14).

38. South Dakota

Police SD
Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 1,770
Average annual wage: $48,550
Average hourly wage: $23.34

South Dakota is far from the most lucrative place to be a police officer. But the state ranks high in terms of job hazards and protections (No. 7) and quality of life (No. 6) for those professionals, according to the WalletHub rankings.

37. Missouri

generic black police officer policeman traffic stop
LightField Studios / Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 13,510
Average annual wage: $48,920
Average hourly wage: $23.52

St. Louis (and East St. Louis, across the border in Illinois) is among the most dangerous cities in the country, according to Neighborhood Scout, which analyzed government crime statistics. Missouri as a whole came in at No. 42 on WalletHub’s ranking of best and worst states to be a police officer.

36. Maine

Police ME
Albert Pego/Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 2,150
Average annual wage: $49,840
Average hourly wage: $23.96

Maine came in second in the category of job hazards and protections in the WalletHub rankings. This spot near the top took into account factors that affect a police officer’s safety, including the crime rate, training for various situations and laws governing officer conduct. The pay isn’t grand, but the job is relatively safe by comparison with most states.

35. New Mexico

Police NM
meunierd/Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 4,310
Average annual wage: $51,250
Average hourly wage: $24.64

New Mexico is a tough place to be a police officer. Police pay, on average, puts this state in the bottom one-third of states. Meanwhile, WalletHub ranks the state dead last for job hazards and protections — in part because it has one of the nation’s highest violent crime rates.

34. Vermont

Jaromir Chalabala / Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 1,280
Average annual wage: $52,940
Average hourly wage: $25.45

Vermont has one of the lowest violent crime rates in the country, just behind No. 1 Maine, according to WalletHub. But the pay for police officers isn’t great, considering the state is the 12th most expensive to live in (after 10 other states and the District of Columbia).

33. Idaho

Police Idaho
EJMzagsfan/Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 2,720
Average annual wage: $53,880
Average hourly wage: $25.91

Idaho’s ranking for average police pay roughly matches the state’s rank for cost of living, around the middle of the pack. But WalletHub’s scoring on a range of factors placed the state No. 49 out of the 50 states and District of Columbia, indicating it’s one of the worst places in the country to be a law enforcement officer.

32. Utah

Police Utah
welcomia/Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 4,490
Average annual wage: $53,890
Average hourly wage: $25.91

Utah has the third-fewest law enforcement officers per capita, after Alaska and Oregon, according to WalletHub, which ranked the state No. 35 as a place for police to live and work.

31. Wyoming

generic woman female police officer ticket patrol car
John Roman Images / Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 1,130
Average annual wage: $55,050
Average hourly wage: $26.47

Wyoming doesn’t stand out as the best or worst place for police on any front. Average wages are right in the middle among U.S. states, while the 2018 cost of living analysis ranks the state as 10th most affordable.

30. Indiana

Chris T Pehlivan/Shutterstock.com
Chris T Pehlivan/Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 12,340
Average annual wage: $55,310
Average hourly wage: $26.59

Indiana police salaries should stretch pretty far, considering the state is among the more affordable places to live — coming in at No. 9 for cost of living in 2018.

29. Montana

Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock.com
Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 1,630
Average annual wage: $56,230
Average hourly wage: $27.03

According to WalletHub’s scoring, Montana came in at an unimpressive No. 41 in the ranking among states as places for police to live and work.

28. Michigan

woman female police officer traffic control
John Roman Images / Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 16,270
Average annual wage: $56,270
Average hourly wage: $27.05

The experience of policing in Michigan is likely as varied as the landscape of the Midwestern state, which has quiet rural sections, tourist-driven areas and urban manufacturing centers. Its largest city, Detroit, has the second-highest violent crime rate among America’s biggest urban areas, following St. Louis.

27. Virginia

Police officer with radio
John Roman Images / Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 18,080
Average annual wage: $56,710
Average hourly wage: $27.26

Virginia has one of the lowest violent crime rates per capita, according to WalletHub, which factored into the state’s No. 12 ranking in the category of job hazards and protections.

26. North Dakota

North Dakota
Nagel Photography/Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 1,590
Average annual wage: $57,190
Average hourly wage: $27.49

North Dakota ranks No. 1 among all states and the District of Columbia as the best place to be a police officer, according to WalletHub, which factored scores on many indicators. Among other things, law enforcement in the state came in No. 1 for the highest percentage of homicide cases solved.

25. Nebraska

Police Nebraska
Philip Eckerberg/Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 3,370
Average annual wage: $57,530
Average hourly wage: $27.66

WalletHub ranks Nebraska at No. 21 as a place for police officers to live and work. The state earned its highest ranking in WalletHub’s scoring — No. 8 — in the category of job hazards and protections.

24. New Hampshire

Police Officer American Flag
Louis.Roth / Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 3,100
Average annual wage: $58,120
Average hourly wage: $27.94

New Hampshire has one of the lowest violent crime rates among states, ranking it No. 3 behind Maine and Vermont, according to WalletHub’s analysis. That and a No. 2 ranking for quality of life for law officers in the state factored into the state’s overall No. 11 ranking as a place for police to live and work.

23. Iowa

Police Iowa
Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 4,860
Average annual wage: $58,340
Average hourly wage: $28.05

Police officers in Iowa earn more, on average, than their counterparts in many states. And homes in the state are among the most affordable, according to WalletHub.

22. Florida

Police FL
spatuletail/Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 37,650
Average annual wage: $59,610
Average hourly wage: $28.66

Although pay for police officers in Florida is pretty average, these professionals find one of WalletHub’s highest quality of life rankings — No. 5 — in the Sunshine State.

21. Rhode Island

July 4, 2011 Providence Police Department Mounted Command Independence Day parade in Bristol, Rhode Island
Dan Logan / Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 1,850
Average annual wage: $60,890
Average hourly wage: $29.27

Rhode Island falls in the middle, overall, among the ranking of places for police to live and work. Still, it received a poor score from WalletHub for percentage of homicides solved, coming in at No. 47.

20. Ohio

Police Ohio
Denise Kappa/Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 24,890
Average annual wage: $61,040
Average hourly wage: $29.35

Ohio ranks nearly last — No. 49 — for its percentage of homicides solved. But it ranks No. 19 overall on WalletHub’s best-to-worst ranking of places for police to live and work.

19. Texas

Police Texas
Andrey Bayda/Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 60,260
Average annual wage: $61,870
Average hourly wage: $29.74

According to WalletHub’s scoring, Texas ranks No. 8 in the nation as a place to live and work as a police officer.

18. Wisconsin

Police WI
Suzanne Tucker/Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 11,260
Average annual wage: $62,040
Average hourly wage: $29.82

Law enforcement work in Wisconsin ranks roughly in the middle on most measures. But the state ranks in the top 20 on average pay for police. And those salaries are not static, according to WalletHub, which ranked median income growth for law officers (2017 over 2016) in the state as fourth highest in the nation.

17. Arizona

Police AZ
meunierd/Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 11,480
Average annual wage: $64,040
Average hourly wage: $31.08

Arizona is among the places where the average police salary of $64,040 goes a little further given the state’s No. 24 ranking for cost of living.

16. Pennsylvania

Police PA
George Sheldon/Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 27,850
Average annual wage: $66,600
Average hourly wage: $32.02

With its average police salary coming in No. 14, Pennsylvania earns a similar rank of No. 15 from WalletHub as a place for police to live and work. Its No. 6 score in the category of opportunity and competition takes into account such factors as income growth potential and the number of law enforcement officers per capita.

15. Maryland

Asian American Policewoman radio police tape
Images By Kenny / Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 12,650
Average annual wage: $68,230
Average hourly wage: $32.80

Maryland is among the top five states for spending on police protection per capita, WalletHub notes. That factor and many others went into that state’s No. 9 ranking as a place for police to live and work.

14. Minnesota

Minnesota Police
miker/Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 9,450
Average annual wage: $69,060
Average hourly wage: $33.20

Minnesota ranks No. 4 in the nation as a place for police to live and work, according to WalletHub. The state had a particularly high score, No. 3, on the category of job hazards and protections.

13. Massachusetts

Police MA
Richard Cavalleri/Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 16,830
Average annual wage: $69,870
Average hourly wage: $33.59

Law enforcement officers’ wages in Massachusetts are substantial, but the cost of living is also high — coming in at No. 5 in 2018 after Hawaii, the District of Columbia, California and New York.

12. Delaware

Police DE
Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 1,790
Average annual wage: $70,000
Average hourly wage: $33.65

Its nickname may be “The First State,” but Delaware ranks No. 36 out of the 50 states and District of Columbia as a place for a police officer to live and work.

11. Oregon

Police Oregon
Victoria Ditkovsky/Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 5,390
Average annual wage: $70,360
Average hourly wage: $33.83

Oregon has the fewest law enforcement officers per capita in the nation, according to WalletHub. This factor is one that brings down its score in the opportunity and competition category (No. 40), even though the state’s average salary for law enforcement is one of the nation’s highest.

10. Hawaii

Police Hawaii
Jeff Whyte/Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 2,610
Average annual wage: $74,040
Average hourly wage: $35.60

Salaries for Hawaii’s law enforcement officers are near the top, nationwide. Unfortunately, the Aloha State is the most expensive place to live in the country.

9. Nevada

Police Nevada
trekandshoot/Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 5,120
Average annual wage: $70,450
Average hourly wage: $33.87

Nevada’s rate of violent crime is the fourth highest on the WalletHub rankings, after the District of Columbia, Alaska and New Mexico. The state ranks No. 30 overall as a place for police to live and work. It ranks especially low (No. 42) in the category of job hazards and protections.

8. Connecticut

Police CT
barbsimages/Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 6,450
Average annual wage: $71,920
Average hourly wage: $34.58

Connecticut is a pretty good place to be police officer, judging from its No. 3 ranking from WalletHub. The state came in No. 1 in the job hazards and protections category, which scores factors such as safety, training and laws governing police conduct and rights.

7. Colorado

Police CO
Arina P Habich/Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 9,840
Average annual wage: $72,950
Average hourly wage: $35.07

Colorado pays its law enforcement officers well compared with their counterparts in other states, but the state ranks in the middle of the pack at No. 26 overall as a place for police to live and work. Still, Colorado came in at No. 4 in the category of opportunity and competition for law officers.

6. New York

Police NY
Antonio Gravante/Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 53,560
Average annual wage: $74,860
Average hourly wage: $35.99

New York is the second-best state in the nation to be a law enforcement officer, according to the WalletHub ranking, which notes that the state is No. 3 in state and local police-protection spending per capita.

5. Illinois

Police Illinois
C. A. Carrigan/Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 30,370
Average annual wage: $75,720
Average hourly wage: $36.40

Illinois comes in at No. 7 as a place for police to live and work, according to WalletHub. In addition to having one of the highest average salaries for law enforcement officers, the state ranks in the top 10 on the categories of quality of life as well as job opportunity and competition.

4. Washington

Police Washington
Mariusz S. Jurgielewicz/Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 9,670
Average annual wage: $77,670
Average hourly wage: $37.34

In addition to having one of the highest average police salaries, Washington is the sixth-best place in the country to be a police officer, according to WalletHub. The Evergreen State got its highest ranking (No. 4) in the job hazards and protections category, but also was No. 5 for opportunity and competition for law officers.

3. New Jersey

Police NJ
JonathanCollins/Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 19,950
Average annual wage: $83,720
Average hourly wage: $40.25

The state of New Jersey has the second-highest average police salary in the country, but comes in at just No. 16 on WalletHub’s rankings of the best states for police to live and work. Among factors affecting that overall ranking was its score on quality of life (No. 36).

2. Alaska

Police Alaska
Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 1,070
Average annual wage: $88,030
Average hourly wage: $42.32

Alaska is an expensive place to live. That’s one reason that despite a seemingly high average salary, it ranks No. 48 as a place for police to live and work, according to WalletHub. Other factors that make it a tough place: Among the 50 states and District of Columbia, Alaska has second-fewest law enforcement officers per capita, it has the second-highest violent crime rate and ranks lowest on job hazards and protections.

1. California

CHP
Charles Shapiro/Shutterstock.com

Number of jobs: 72,680
Average annual wage: $101,380
Average hourly wage: $48.74

California has the highest average annual wage for police officers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But when a range of factors are considered and scored, the state comes in at No. 5 among best places for police to live and work, according to WalletHub. Ranking above it from top to bottom (and clearly not factoring in winter weather) are North Dakota, New York, Connecticut and Minnesota.

What do you think of police compensation in your state? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Kari Huus and Maryalene LaPonsie contributed to this report.

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