These States Offer the Best and Worst Pay for Police Officers

Want a career in law enforcement? See these figures first.

Police work is often considered a calling — many officers don’t enter the occupation to get rich. But, is it a career that offers a comfortable living?

The answer to that question depends largely on where you live, found a recent GOBankingRates analysis. To find out just how much money the average police officer earns, GOBankingRates examined the most recent data on the mean annual wage for police officers and sheriff’s patrol officers in all 50 states, sourced from Bureau of Labor Statistics.

This report can help you understand how much your local officers earn, and you can use this data to help you plan your career in law enforcement.

Click to See: The Insane Amount Lawyers Make in Every State


Compare Your Paycheck: How Do You Stack Up to the Average Income in Your State?

According to the analysis, the states with the highest-paid police officers are:

1. California: $100,090
2. New Jersey: $83,570
3. Alaska: $81,980
4. Washington: $78,600
5. Nevada: $73,930

According to BLS data, there are 16 states where officers earn less than $50,000 annually. Just three states pay less than $40,000 a year, with Mississippi coming in dead last at $35,520. With an average salary of $100,090, California pays its officers the most by far. The only other two states to break the $80,000 mark are New Jersey and Alaska.

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The lowest-paid officers are concentrated in the South and Appalachia regions. Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Georgia and South Carolina round out the bottom five. Meanwhile, the best-paid officers are concentrated — with a few exceptions — in the West and East, as well as in both non-contiguous states.

Here’s a look at how much police officers make in every state:

State Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers Annual Mean Wage
Alabama $44,490
Alaska $81,980
Arizona $65,810
Arkansas $38,450
California $100,090
Colorado $71,270
Connecticut $70,610
Delaware $68,630
Florida $58,400
Georgia $42,190
Hawaii $70,060
Idaho $52,340
Illinois $73,870
Indiana $53,260
Iowa $56,620
Kansas $47,920
Kentucky $45,010
Louisiana $39,650
Maine $48,310
Maryland $66,020
Massachusetts $68,190
Michigan $55,780
Minnesota $64,700
Mississippi $35,520
Missouri $47,080
Montana $54,590
Nebraska $57,090
Nevada $73,930
New Hampshire $56,560
New Jersey $83,570
New Mexico $52,320
New York $73,000
North Carolina $47,440
North Dakota $56,420
Ohio $59,280
Oklahoma $45,600
Oregon $68,530
Pennsylvania $66,460
Rhode Island $58,830
South Carolina $42,330
South Dakota $47,800
Tennessee $44,320
Texas $62,430
Utah $52,410
Vermont $49,070
Virginia $56,290
Washington $78,600
West Virginia $43,050
Wisconsin $60,800
Wyoming $56,240

Thinking about a career as a lawyer? Keep reading to see the insane amount they make in every state.

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Methodology: GOBankingRates identified the mean annual wage for police and sheriff’s patrol officers based on May 2017 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

About the Author

Andrew Lisa

Andrew Lisa has been writing professionally since 2001. An award-winning writer, Andrew was formerly one of the youngest nationally distributed columnists for the largest newspaper syndicate in the country, the Gannett News Service. He worked as the business section editor for amNewYork, the most widely distributed newspaper in Manhattan, and worked as a copy editor for, a financial publication in the heart of Wall Street's investment community in New York City.

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