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How Much Police Officers Get Paid Across America

Joel Anderson

America is in the midst of a serious reckoning with how it funds its police force. That came into clear relief over the weekend 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: June 8, 2020

1. Jackson, Mississippi

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

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2. Huntington-Ashland, West Virginia

  • Population: 358,234
  • Median annual pay: $41,910
  • Average annual pay: $45,030

3. Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin, South Carolina

  • Population: 883,853
  • Median annual pay: $41,930
  • Average annual pay: $43,360

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

6. New Orleans-Metairie, Louisiana

  • Population: 1,263,635
  • Median annual pay: $48,130
  • Average annual pay: $47,160

7. Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, Tennessee

  • Population: 1,864,138
  • Median annual pay: $49,880
  • Average annual pay: $49,950

8. Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, North Carolina

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

 

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

10. Kansas City, Kansas

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

 

11. Burlington-South Burlington, Vermont

  • Population: 218,042
  • Median annual pay: $54,240
  • Average annual pay: $54,230

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.

13. Albuquerque, New Mexico

  • Population: 910,012
  • Median annual pay: $57,100
  • Average annual pay: $55,480

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

16. Boise City, Idaho

  • Population: 693,952
  • Median annual pay: $59,020
  • Average annual pay: $59,970

17. Salt Lake City, Utah

  • Population: 1,185,990
  • Median annual pay: $59,300
  • Average annual pay: $59,010

18. Portland-South Portland, Maine

  • Population: 529,323
  • Median annual pay: $60,120
  • Average annual pay: $59,710

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.

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

22. Billings, Montana

  • Population: 169,086
  • Median annual pay: $62,420
  • Average annual pay: $63,910

23. Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, Michigan

  • Population: 4,317,179
  • Median annual pay: $62,690
  • Average annual pay: $61,800

24. Fargo, North Dakota

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

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25. Providence-Warwick, Rhode Island

  • Population: 1,615,516
  • Median annual pay: $64,400
  • Average annual pay: $64,860

26. Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, Indiana

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

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.

28. Omaha-Council Bluffs, Nebraska

  • Population: 922,891
  • Median annual pay: $68,770
  • Average annual pay: $66,140

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

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

  • Population: 6,070,944
  • Median annual pay: $71,550
  • Average annual pay: $71,400

32. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Arizona

  • Population: 4,673,634
  • Median annual pay: $71,660
  • Average annual pay: $71,220

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

 

36. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Delaware

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

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.

38. Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, Wisconsin

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

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39. Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, Connecticut

  • Population: 1,209,367
  • Median annual pay: $74,940
  • Average annual pay: $74,930

40. Urban Honolulu, Hawaii

  • Population: 987,638
  • Median annual pay: $78,570
  • Average annual pay: $79,570

41. Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nevada

  • Population: 2,141,574
  • Median annual pay: $79,470
  • Average annual pay: $77,270

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

44. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colorado

  • Population: 2,850,221
  • Median annual pay: $84,840
  • Average annual pay: $82,020

45. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Washington

  • Population: 3,809,717
  • Median annual pay: $87,220
  • Average annual pay: $84,330

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

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

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

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.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: How Much Police Officers Get Paid Across America