If you are considering a career in law enforcement, it’s very important for you to know about the different factors that affect the cost of law enforcement. Does every flight have a marshall?
There are a number of factors that play into how much it costs to be in law enforcement. Unfortunately, there is no single answer because each city has its own unique way of budgeting and paying cops. This can make understanding the cost-of-being-a-cop very difficult. For example, some cities offer low salaries but offer benefits like retirement plans or health insurance as compensation.
1. The Salary of Police Officers
Police officer pay varies from region to region and often depends on the police department and level of experience. In highly populated regions, police officers may make more annually than police in rural areas. The average annual salary for a police officer is $59,000. Salaries are far higher in major cities, such as New York City ($76,000), Los Angeles ($73,000) and Chicago ($70,000).
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates , the mean annual wage for police officers was $58,030 in 2010. In contrast, the mean annual wage for all occupations was $37,040 in 2010. Below, you can see a breakdown of wages for police officers in different areas across the country:
Police officer salaries vary considerably among police departments. As a rule of thumb, small departments pay less than large departments. Police department size is measured by the number of sworn officers, which is generally considered to be the best measure of a department’s hiring and budgetary capacity. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition , police officer pay was $56,440 in sheriff’s offices with fewer than 100 sworn officers and $48,600 in larger sheriff’s offices with 1,000 or more sworn officers nationwide.
2. Cost of Living
In major metropolitan areas, the cost of living may be higher than in rural areas. Since police officers are often paid according to where they work, their salaries may not be enough to sustain a comfortable living in a particular region. As such, many cities and regions offer benefits like retirement packages and health insurance as an added compensation package.
While basic pay is often all that is required for entry-level positions, most law enforcement agencies also offer numerous benefits as an added compensation package for police officers. Some of these benefits include: vacation time; disability leave; retirement packages; life insurance plans; health insurance plans; death benefits and more.
Police departments often pay overtime to their police officers. Overtime is often a necessity for officers working in high crime or highly populated areas. In addition, many police departments require their officers to work long hours each day and night of the week. As such, they may participate in extra training courses or seminars to increase productivity on the job.
5. Additional Salary Streams
In some communities, law enforcement is a family business, with several generations of cops serving as members of the department over time. Families may also be interested in hiring their children out of college as a way to avoid having them start at the bottom and earning a whole new living experience before moving into an upper-management position within the department. Some police officers may also earn income from outside sources through private security or part-time work.
6. The Cost of Education
If you are looking to start a career in law enforcement, it is likely that you will need to attend a police academy for training and certification. The cost for these types of schools can vary greatly depending on the school and the duration of the program. In addition, obtaining higher education may be required to obtain certain jobs within a department.
7. The Cost of Equipment
Although police departments often provide officers with standard equipment like handguns, handcuffs, batons and riot gear, there are still additional costs that an officer may incur.
Some of the products that police officers must purchase on their own include: uniforms; traffic vests; bulletproof vests; night vision goggles; undercover gear and more. In addition to the cost of these items, they also require regular maintenance in order to keep them functioning properly.
8. The Cost of Apparel and Accessories
While not essential to a police officer’s job performance, apparel and accessories can add up over time if purchased on a regular basis.
Examples of this include: uniforms; protective gear; rain gear; sunglasses, etc. Again, these items must be properly maintained and maintained to ensure their continued use.
9. Health and Dental Care
In addition to the basic necessities like food and housing, officers are likely to incur additional costs for health insurance and dental care as a way to save money in the long run.
Since police officers may work long hours in high-crime areas, health insurance may pay for some of their healthcare expenses without requiring that they make a co-pay or deductible payment. As such, health benefits are another cost that is often covered by law enforcement agencies throughout the country.