When considering police pay across the country, there’s a $66,020 mean annual wage and typically a generous benefits package which can include retirement-contribution matches, tuition assistance, ample leave time, a take-home vehicle, and access to health and fitness facilities. In Georgia, however, those numbers are substantially lower.
But pay isn’t the only thing drawing officers to any given agency. Research shows that officer pay is not only a reflection of the work environment but that officers are simultaneously more likely to be attracted to agencies with less scandal and more transparency.
In order to evaluate the environments for officers overall, financial literacy website WalletHub recently evaluated the best and worst states to be a police officer, based on a number of factors.
In order to determine the best states to pursue a career in law enforcement, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 30 key indicators of police-friendliness. The data set ranges from the median income for law-enforcement officers to police deaths per 1,000 officers to state and local police-protection expenses per capita.
Best States to Be a Cop
|Overall Rank||State||Total Score||Opportunity & Competition||Law Enforcement Training Requirements||Job Hazards & Protections|
|2||District of Columbia||61.13||1||3||47|
Note: With the exception of “Total Score,” all of the columns in the table above depict the relative rank of that state, where a rank of 1 represents the best conditions for that metric category.
Best vs. Worst
- The District of Columbia has the most police and sheriff’s patrol officers per 100,000 residents, 773, which is 6.7 times more than in Oregon, the fewest at 116.
- Illinois has the highest median annual wage for police and sheriff’s patrol officers (adjusted for cost of living), $86,127, which is two times higher than in Mississippi, the lowest at $42,124.
- Rhode Island has the fewest individuals killed by police per 1,000,000 residents, 4, which is 14.8 times fewer than in New Mexico, the most at 59.
- Maine has the fewest violent crimes per 1,000 residents, 1.09, which is 9.2 times fewer than in the District of Columbia, the most at 10.00.
- The District of Columbia has the highest state and local police-protection expenses per capita, $997.19, which is 5.5 times higher than in Kentucky, the lowest at $181.96.