GOBankingRates

How Much Police Officers Get Paid Across America

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Biker x days / Shutterstock.com

America is in the midst of serious reckoning with how it funds its police force. That came into clear relief when the city council of Minneapolis voted to eliminate its existing department. In doing so, the city will invest in a new model of public safety and emergency response. Likewise, many major cities are in the midst of slashing police budgets and redirecting resources to other services more capable of addressing the underlying issues in needy communities. The hope is that such action might ultimately prove more useful in reducing crime and, in turn, police involvement.

These questions have brought a renewed focus on police budgets — including where and how money is spent, and what returns it might or might not be providing. As a result, the salaries earned by cops have also been put under the microscope.

A closer look at police pay in America’s largest cities, however, suggests that swollen police budgets are hardly being driven by excessive police salaries. In fact, only a handful of major metropolitan police departments in the country have a median salary that exceeds the national average — indicating that while police departments might be receiving too much money, rank-and-file officers are likely not getting the same treatment.

GOBankingRates dug into the numbers and found which police departments pay their officers more than the average American. This new study lays out the median and mean police salaries for the largest metropolitan areas in the country. Focusing on metropolitan areas rather than cities offers a more complete view of a department’s responsibilities, though it is important to note that some metropolitan areas sprawl over state lines.

Here’s a closer look at how much police are paid across America.

Last updated: Sept. 2, 2020

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1. Jackson, Mississippi

  • Population: 580,280
  • Median annual pay: $36,660
  • Average annual pay: $37,380

 

Ukfan2013 / Wikimedia Commons CC-BY-SA 3

2. Huntington-Ashland, West Virginia

  • Population: 358,234
  • Median annual pay: $41,910
  • Average annual pay: $45,030
Donald Lee Pardue / Flickr.com

3. Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin, South Carolina

  • Population: 883,853
  • Median annual pay: $41,930
  • Average annual pay: $43,360
Cliff / Wikimedia Commons CC-BY-SA 2

4. Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, Arkansas

  • Population: 734,502
  • Median annual pay: $46,160
  • Average annual pay: $48,380

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5. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Georgia

  • Population: 5,779,463
  • Median annual pay: $47,830
  • Average annual pay: $48,800
Christian Ouellet / Shutterstock.com

6. New Orleans-Metairie, Louisiana

  • Population: 1,263,635
  • Median annual pay: $48,130
  • Average annual pay: $47,160
4kclips / Shutterstock.com

7. Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, Tennessee

  • Population: 1,864,138
  • Median annual pay: $49,880
  • Average annual pay: $49,950
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8. Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, North Carolina

  • Population: 2,473,125
  • Median annual pay: $50,160
  • Average annual pay: $52,060

 

Andriy Blokhin / Shutterstock.com

9. Birminingham-Hoover, Alabama

  • Population: 1,147,054
  • Median annual pay: $52,060
  • Average annual pay: $51,050

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Photo Disclaimer: Police vehicle shown is from Montgomery Police Department

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10. Kansas City, Kansas

  • Population: 2,106,632
  • Median annual pay: $52,230
  • Average annual pay: $54,960

 

Kevin.B / Wikimedia Commons CC-BY-SA 3

11. Burlington-South Burlington, Vermont

  • Population: 218,042
  • Median annual pay: $54,240
  • Average annual pay: $54,230
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12. Cheyenne, Wyoming

  • Population: 97,692
  • Median annual pay: $54,410
  • Average annual pay: $55,620

Editor’s note: No data was available for police officer pay in Cheyenne, Wyoming. GOBankinRates used data for Eastern Wyoming instead.

Cynthia Liang / Shutterstock.com

13. Albuquerque, New Mexico

  • Population: 910,012
  • Median annual pay: $57,100
  • Average annual pay: $55,480
4kclips / Shutterstock.com

14. Louisville/Jefferson County, Kentucky

  • Population: 1,285,270
  • Median annual pay: $57,150
  • Average annual pay: $56,350

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15. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

  • Population: 1,369,759
  • Median annual pay: $57,800
  • Average annual pay: $56,250
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16. Boise City, Idaho

  • Population: 693,952
  • Median annual pay: $59,020
  • Average annual pay: $59,970
An Errant Knight / Wikimedia Commons

17. Salt Lake City, Utah

  • Population: 1,185,990
  • Median annual pay: $59,300
  • Average annual pay: $59,010
Alexander Oganezov / Shutterstock.com

18. Portland-South Portland, Maine

  • Population: 529,323
  • Median annual pay: $60,120
  • Average annual pay: $59,710
Dickelbers / Wikimedia Commons CC-BY-SA 3

19. Manchester, New Hampshire

  • Population: 411,087
  • Median annual pay: $60,310
  • Average annual pay: $61,670

Editor’s note: The population listed is for the Manchester-Nashua, New Hampshire, metropolitan area.

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20. Sioux Falls, South Dakota

  • Population: 255,438
  • Median annual pay: $61,960
  • Average annual pay: $62,100

 

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21. St. Louis, Missouri

  • Population: 2,805,551
  • Median annual pay: $62,140
  • Average annual pay: $61,100
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Mark Holloway / Flickr.com

22. Billings, Montana

  • Population: 169,086
  • Median annual pay: $62,420
  • Average annual pay: $63,910
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23. Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, Michigan

  • Population: 4,317,179
  • Median annual pay: $62,690
  • Average annual pay: $61,800
Michael Rieger / Wikimedia Commons

24. Fargo, North Dakota

  • Population: 237,003
  • Median annual pay: $62,980
  • Average annual pay: $64,420

 

25. Providence-Warwick, Rhode Island

  • Population: 1,615,516
  • Median annual pay: $64,400
  • Average annual pay: $64,860
Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com

26. Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, Indiana

  • Population: 2,007,497
  • Median annual pay: $65,520
  • Average annual pay: $62,340

Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com

27. Des Moines-West Des Moines, Iowa

  • Population: 634,201
  • Median annual pay: $68,250
  • Average annual pay: $66,220

Photo note: This image is of an Iowa state trooper vehicle as we were unable to get a vehicle from the Des Moines-West Des Moines, Iowa metropolitan area specifically.

Slshow / Wikimedia Commons CC-BY-SA 3

28. Omaha-Council Bluffs, Nebraska

  • Population: 922,891
  • Median annual pay: $68,770
  • Average annual pay: $66,140
Dedan Photography / Shutterstock.com

29. Cincinnati, Ohio

  • Population: 2,168,825
  • Median annual pay: $69,110
  • Average annual pay: $66,810

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30. Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, Maryland

  • Population: 2,793,250
  • Median annual pay: $71,060
  • Average annual pay: $71,380
Tverdokhlib / Shutterstock.com

31. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, Florida

  • Population: 6,070,944
  • Median annual pay: $71,550
  • Average annual pay: $71,400
Donald Fitzsimmons Jr / Shutterstock.com

32. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Arizona

  • Population: 4,673,634
  • Median annual pay: $71,660
  • Average annual pay: $71,220
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33. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas

  • Population: 7,255,028
  • Median annual pay: $71,770
  • Average annual pay: $72,200

34. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, Virginia

  • Population: 6,138,382
  • Median annual pay: $73,080
  • Average annual pay: $74,220

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35. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Pennsylvania

  • Population: 6,069,448
  • Median annual pay: $73,720
  • Average annual pay: $74,010

 

©Wikimedia Commons CC-BY-SA 3

36. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Delaware

  • Population: 6,069,448
  • Median annual pay: $73,720
  • Average annual pay: $74,010
John Kropewnicki / Shutterstock.com

37. Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, Massachusetts

  • Population: 4,811,732
  • Median annual pay: $74,160
  • Average annual pay: $75,250

Editor’s note: The population listed is for the Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Massachusetts, metropolitan area.

Cliff / Flickr.com

38. Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, Wisconsin

  • Population: 1,575,907
  • Median annual pay: $74,420
  • Average annual pay: $72,760

 

SGT141 / Wikimedia Commons CC-BY-SA 3

39. Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, Connecticut

  • Population: 1,209,367
  • Median annual pay: $74,940
  • Average annual pay: $74,930
Kara Knight / Shutterstock.com

40. Urban Honolulu, Hawaii

  • Population: 987,638
  • Median annual pay: $78,570
  • Average annual pay: $79,570
Jeffrey J Coleman / Shutterstock.com

41. Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nevada

  • Population: 2,141,574
  • Median annual pay: $79,470
  • Average annual pay: $77,270
MUNSHOTS / Shutterstock.com

42. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minnesota

  • Population: 3,557,528
  • Median annual pay: $79,670
  • Average annual pay: $77,590

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43. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Oregon

  • Population: 2,417,931
  • Median annual pay: $80,480
  • Average annual pay: $80,340
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photo-denver / Shutterstock.com

44. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colorado

  • Population: 2,850,221
  • Median annual pay: $84,840
  • Average annual pay: $82,020
Spiz Photography / Shutterstock.com

45. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Washington

  • Population: 3,809,717
  • Median annual pay: $87,220
  • Average annual pay: $84,330
Christian Mueller / Shutterstock.com

46. New York-Newark-Jersey City, New York

  • Population: 19,990,592
  • Median annual pay: $88,560
  • Average annual pay: $83,040
Robert Szymanski / Shutterstock.com

47. New York-Newark-Jersey City, New Jersey

  • Population: 19,990,592
  • Median annual pay: $88,560
  • Average annual pay: $83,040

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48. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, Illinois

  • Population: 9,536,428
  • Median annual pay: $88,770
  • Average annual pay: $82,170
Johnathon Green / U.S. Air Force

49. Anchorage, Alaska

  • Population: 399,576
  • Median annual pay: $92,440
  • Average annual pay: $92,630

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50. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, California

  • Population: 13,262,234
  • Median annual pay: $113,160
  • Average annual pay: $108,420

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Methodology: In order to find out how much police officers get paid across America, GOBankingRates first found all 50 states’ largest metropolitan statistical area by population, according to the 2018 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. Once each state’s largest metro area was identified, GOBankingRates found both the (1) median annual salary and (2) average annual salary for a police officer in those metro areas as sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2019 for “Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers.” All data was collected on and is up to date as of June 5, 2020.