Without fail, in surveys across basically every demographic, the number one most important aspect of a job for most people is the salary — how much do deputy sheriffs get paid where I live?
And while there are many things to go into how much you can expect to make, there’s really good data for average salaries for police officers by state across America broken down by seniority level. So while your city may be slightly different than the state average, these averages give you a rough sense of what to expect for your salary.
So to better understand how police officer salaries change across America, we decided to take a look the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on average pay for police officers by state.
Additionally, we wanted to adjust the salary based on the cost of living in a state — because your salary goes further in North Carolina than it does in California.
The state with the best salary for police officers after this adjustment? That would be California. Here’s a quick snapshot of the top ten states for police officer salaries:
Let’s take a look at how we got here and a full ranking of all the states.
As we mentioned earlier, we took the average annual salary data for police officers from the 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics — specifically their “Occupational Employment Statistics”.
However, to make the comparison of salaries apples to apples across states, we also took into account the living wage in each state as defined by MIT.
We then created an index by dividing the average wage for a state by the living wage in that state. As an example, the living wage in California is $57,315 and the average police officer pay is $93,550, so our index value would be:
$93,550 / $57,315 = 1.63
We then ranked every state on this criteria with the state with the highest salary index ranking as highest average salary for police officers.
Here’s a look at the full ranking for all states.