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Police Officer Salary

Salary and Benefits for Police Officers

A Police officer’s job does not fit in the conventional partners of a 9 to 5 job. The typical career environment is both diverse and challenging while offering great opportunities for growth.

Current Job Growth

Police officers normally get promoted after a probation period that can last anywhere between six months and three years. It also depends on the size of the department that the police officer is part of. Typical promotions can lead to one becoming a detective or moving into specialty police work. There are also promotions for corporal, sergeant, lieutenant and captain which are determined through on-the-job performance evaluations and written examinations. Technician-which covers metro SWAT, Juvenile Intake, Firearms Instructor,Detective, Corporal for a police academy, Sergeant-handling special ops, Technical Support, Accident and Patrol, Lieutenant, Captain, Division Chief, Deputy Chief or the Chief of police.

Every jurisdiction or agency ensures that their staff go through continuing training to enhance their performance. For such purposes, there are various police department academies, and other regional centers established by individual states to provide training in self-defense, use-of-force policies, communication skills, crowd-control techniques, firearms and more, annually.

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Pay and Benefits

Though there may be some variations between states and different jurisdictions, police officers receive a competitive and rewarding salary and benefits package. In May 2008, the bureau of labor statistics released the Occupational Employment Statistics survey which placed  the average annual wage for a police officer at over $52,810 compared to the value of $42,270 for other combined occupations. This indicates that the salary for police officers is above the national wage though the actual values for law enforcement officers will vary depending on the type of agency and location.

The police officer’s base salary is in most cases supplemented by a variety of special allowances or payments including but not limited to the following: periodic equipment allowance, annual uniform allowances, overtime, comp time (compensatory time), court time for duty that is beyond the standard schedule, longevity pay usually determined based on the years of service and shift differential pay usually given for time worked on nights or on weekends.

Some jurisdictions also offer bonuses to officers with special training skills, language skills or to degree holders. In addition to the salary, some common benefits for police officers in many cases exceed those offered by private employers. For instance, the retirement age for some jurisdictions or agencies is attained in 20 to 25 years regardless of age. Meaning if  you start early, you can retire by forty and begin to pursue new career goals or opportunities while getting your policeman’s retirement package. Many agencies also match the police officers contributions. In other cases a law enforcement officer will also receive tuition assistance, allowing their employees to pursue various educational opportunities and still maintain their full time jobs.

When comparing the different agencies or jurisdictions to serve in as a police officer, it is important to note that what some agencies lack in their salary package, they usually make up for in supplemental payments or in benefits elsewhere.

The U.S. Department of Justice also provides the Public Safety Officers Benefits Program that ensures those harmed, disabled or fatally wounded in the line of duty are compensated. This is done by offering disability, higher education or death compensation packages to officers or eligible survivors of officers who get disabled or killed. The federal government places a lot of value in the well being of the police officers serving to keep neighborhoods safe and who place themselves continuously in harms way. In addition, police officers have a job security that is comparable to few employment positions making it a great choice for a career.

Salary and Benefits for New York Police Department (NYPD)

Working with the New York Police Department offers various benefits, including challenging and rewarding work assignments opening up to a vast array of opportunities. Police officers soon see great results as they solve problems in their communities. As the largest and among one of the oldest police departments, officers  soon become  specialists in one of many fields for example, emergency services, highway patrol, aviation, criminal investigations, drug enforcement, detective work and more. The sky is truly the limit.

New York’s finest boasts of over 34,500 police officers in uniform. The New York Police Department offers the good people that join its ranks a starting salary of $34,970 which includes holiday pay, uniform pay and the night differential. Though this might look modest on the onset, New York City police officers earn an average of $75,000 after five and a half years of service.

In addition to excellent promotional opportunities, police officers have a choice of paid dental and medical programs. Every officer gets 20 paid vacation days on their first year and 27 paid vacation days after 5 years of service. There is also the benefit of unlimited sick leave with full pay. Once you work for 20 years, you have the option of retiring early at one half the salary. The NYPD also has an annuity fund for all its employees.

Salary and Benefits for LAPD

The Los Angeles Police Department invites all recruits to a rewarding career with truly competitive alaris. There ar regilar appraisals and numerous opportunities for promotion based on the effort and skill that a police officer exhibits. Officers also have the opportunity to earn bonuses based on special skills such as having fluency in a foreign language and hazard pay for specialized assignments. The base salary is $47,042 for high school graduate. For recruits with at least 60 college semester units, and overall GPA of 2.0, the salary gets bumped up to $48,942. For recruits with a four year degree, then $50,842 becomes theirs for the taking from the onset. After successful enrollment from a 6-month police academy training, salary increases can go up to $83,311. Also, a uniform allowance is normally given to officers who complete their probation. Other benefits available for LAPD officers include generous vacation benefits, a compressed work schedule, with more consecutive days off, excellent health and dental plans both for police officers and eligible family members or domestic partners,sick leave and disability benefits- 12 days of paid sick leave and employees can accumulate their sick leaves. The LAPD also has independent pension schemes that both the employees and the city contribute to.

Specialized departments

If you seek a challenge and also want to make a difference in your community, you can consider joining a police department. Some of the specialized services that you could move into as your career progress path include harbor patrol, bomb disposal, anti-terrorism public housing and anti- gang units.

In case you are interested in detective work, it is worth noting that promotion to detective investigator is based on investigative experience. Police officers get the iconic gold shield and pay increase after 18 months. Specialized departments carry with the increased pay and prestige though you will still fall under the command of a supervisory rank beginning with the sergeant.

Detective specialists are a relatively new position and one unique to the NYPD where officers are assigned to specialized units because they posses unique skills that the department needs such as sharp shooter, sketch artist, bomb technician, scuba instructor and more. This makes it an appealing opportunity for skilled people looking to join the police department.


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