States With the Highest Average Salary for Patrol Officers
States with an average salary of six figures include New York, Washington D.C., Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Alaska. This represents around the top 10% of earners in the police force on a national average. New York leads the pack with an average of $132,290 per annum, which is much larger than its runner-up Washington D.C at $106,490. New York City is well known for its police force, being called "New York's Finest" by many citizens alike. The NYPD employs various specialties and is one of the largest places that employ officers from around the country. It has been made popular by Hollywood, TV shows, and movies that depict police officers and investigators on the job, solving high-profile cases.
Because of this, New York enjoys the most prestigious name in the country, attracting top talent every year. To put it into perspective, the median list price for that year in New York was $343,164, making police averages extremely attractive to many who were reviewing the data. This does not paint the entire picture, as most of the New York police force is centered around New York City, especially Manhattan, where real estate prices can be more than triple the median.
States With the Lowest Average Salary for Patrol Officers
The bottom five states with the lowest salary are Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas in that order. Arkansas is last on the list with an average salary of $63,610. Calculating an average salary can be tricky, as outliers tend to affect the ranges greatly. This is true in regards to New York, as it has the highest-paid ranking officials domestically, which skews the data upwards. Arkansas is known as the "natural state" and holds many rural areas outside of the capital of Little Rock. This means that becoming a police officer is not an active endeavor for many locals or police officers that are looking to transfer to this state.
While some counties are more urban than others, the state is known for its wondrous beauty and natural landscapes, meaning that police officers on a state-wide basis would not see as much dangerous action as in more urbanized states. Although the average may seem low, the median home price for Arkansas is around 140K, meaning a police officer earning the average salary would be able to more than afford a decent cost of living.
Federal Averages and Education
On a national level, regular patrol officers make a salary of $94,160 per year. Educational requirements often only require a high-school diploma or GED for entry-level enrollment, but there has been an increasing demand for officers with a college or post-graduate education. Some officers are incentivized to attend continuing education while on the force to be considered for salary increases or to obtain higher ranks within management. Nearly 25% of all police departments in the country require their candidates to have achieved at a minimum an associate's degree.