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  • Federal vs Local

    I'm a local LEO - Deputy Sheriff to be exact. Prior to that I was a city cop for a short while.

    Anyway, I've noticed 3 of my colleagues recently join various branches of the Federal Government in LE positions. One went to CBP, another DHS, and one more with Pentagon PD. I've spoke to them and inquired as to their reasoning, which was universally for Federal advancement.

    I did some digging for my own fascination and found 2012 pay scales. Needless to say, I was puzzled by the figures.

    I was hoping some of you could shed some light on the Federal vs Local issue and provide answers to some of these questions:


    The pay scales, as seen here:

    http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-overs...eral-schedule/

    seem to be fairly low, especially in high COLA areas (even with the adjustment). I believe I saw that FLEOs usually can not go beyond grade 9 step 10, which would be $54,028. Is this really the top-out for a Federal LEO? If so, is there some kind of obscene benefits package to make it worth while?

    By comparison, Sunrise PD in FL starts at around $59K / yr for certified and tops out near 90K. A lower paid agency, such as mine, starts out at $47K and tops out at 70K. Our benefits package includes 100% no-cost insurance (single), Florida Retirement System (25 years to retire + 5 year DROP w/ 3% employee deduction), take-home cars, and virtually unlimited details/overtime.

    I can't seem to wrap my head around how difficult it must be to obtain a FLEO position by comparison to local, yet the pay seems to be slightly less up front, and much less at top-out.

    On another note, once one reaches maximum grade and step, where is there to go from there? Different federal jobs? Or just internal promotions (such as Sgt., Lt., etc.)?


    Maybe I'm looking too far into this, but it's late, and my mind starts wandering when I'm up this late and not working


    So if anyone could shed some light as to the benefits/pros of Federal LE vs Local LE...I would greatly appreciate it.



    Thanks guys/gals - stay safe!

  • #2
    After GL-10, LEOs switch back to the GS pay scale. Many of the law enforcement positions in the 1800 series (criminal investigator, USBP, etc..) go up to GS 12 and 13.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by madchiken View Post
      After GL-10, LEOs switch back to the GS pay scale. Many of the law enforcement positions in the 1800 series (criminal investigator, USBP, etc..) go up to GS 12 and 13.
      Additionally most get leap pay instead of overtime which is an automatic 25% of your base pay each paycheck. Your pension is at 20 also as a fed and is 1.7% a year and then 1% for every year over 20. TSP is like a 401(k) and has a Roth option with matching contributions 1 to 1 on first 3% then .5 to 1 on next 2%. Other benefits are the same as any fed employee and take home cars vary agency to agency and even office to office. Advancement after GS-12/13 usually requires going to a more management focused job.
      Remember for the most part fed LEO is investigative in nature and is nothing like patrol work. Also without vet preference and a degree it is very hard to make the switch.

      Comment


      • #4
        If u want to run and gun, and/or make an impact on your community go local. If you want to investigate people/property crimes go local. Federal side is great, but honestly getting a non-uniformed
        Agent/marshal job is more luck and timing. Remember that what u see on tv(dea/ manhunters) is a very small percentage of those jobs. Most high speed tactics are done on the local level with swat, tac, and tactical counter narco teams. Bottom line if u like the action stay local.
        Fers retirement is decent, but there are few large locals with better retirements(lapd,Chicago pd, and of course nypd). Getting hired at the federal level is more luck than anything.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Paul554 View Post
          Additionally most get leap pay instead of overtime which is an automatic 25% of your base pay each paycheck. Your pension is at 20 also as a fed and is 1.7% a year and then 1% for every year over 20. TSP is like a 401(k) and has a Roth option with matching contributions 1 to 1 on first 3% then .5 to 1 on next 2%. Other benefits are the same as any fed employee and take home cars vary agency to agency and even office to office. Advancement after GS-12/13 usually requires going to a more management focused job.
          Remember for the most part fed LEO is investigative in nature and is nothing like patrol work. Also without vet preference and a degree it is very hard to make the switch.

          What is LEAP pay exactly? It seems that the retirement and base pay scales for local is superior across the board (without LEAP).

          I appreciate all the insight from you, and everyone else.

          Thanks!

          Comment


          • #6
            Leap. Law enforcement availability pay.
            It automatically pays added 25%. So that when things like sandy, and Boston bombing happen, some federal Leo's are compensated for added hours worked.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by vacbanned4 View Post
              What is LEAP pay exactly? It seems that the retirement and base pay scales for local is superior across the board (without LEAP).

              I appreciate all the insight from you, and everyone else.

              Thanks!
              OK here goes, I'm going to do the best I can here. I am a current FED so I have some idea on what most FED LE Agencies are compensated at. Pretty much any 1811 or "Special Agent" position which is what most people seem to want to get to at the federal level, will top you out at the GS12 or GS13 pay grade. Now it will take you usually 3-5 years to get to that grade because you usually get hired on at a GS7 or GS9 for those positions.

              The best way to do this is to give you a example, so lets say you get hired on with the DEA as a 1811 criminal investigator. The pay is calculated as such. Your base pay, for most starting would be around GS7 which is equal to 33,750. Now lets say you are based in Dallas. You would have a automatic 20.67% added to that which equals another 6976. That gives you a salary of 40726. But that is not ALL. All 1811 positions also give you another 25% on TOP of that salary. If you do that math your total would come out to 50907. The 25% is called LEAP or law enforcement availability pay. YOU GET LEAP NO MATTER WHAT. The hours DO NOT have to be worked every pay period though this may vary depending on the agency. The reason you get the 25% is essentially the agency pays you for 50 hours every week whether you work the hours or not. It is their way to keep you on call without having to pay you OT if you work 45 hours a week. Now again that is a STARTING salary of 51K. That does not include holiday pay if you happen to work a holiday, any overtime you may work, ETC. Govt also pays you differentials of any hour past 6pm til 6am you get a 10% night differential and 25% if you work a Sunday. 35% for Sunday nights.

              Assuming you get hired at a GS 7 you would be topped out to a GS13 with the DEA in 4 years. Assuming you are still in Dallas, your salary with LEAP would be 108,047. That is BEFORE any promotions you actually have to earn and is only after FOUR years working.

              The way it works is each year barring any screwups by yourself, you get a merit promotion to the next grade. For instance, in the DEA you may be hired on at a GS 7, then after one year, move up to GS 9, then after another year GS 11 etc. Most agencies (from what I have seen and heard) go GS 7, 9, 11, 12, and if they top out at 13 then you would get 13 after another year. Some agencies only go as high as a 12 (Such as the US marshals) and their GS13 is a supervisor position.

              Now once you hit your top grade whether it is a 12 or 13 you get a "step raise" every year or every few years. I am NOT sure how often you get a step increase and whether it is 1 or 2 or even every 3 years or if it depends on agency. But I do know you can keep moving up that grade even without promotion. For instance if you top out at a GS12 you could be a a GS 12 step 3 after another few years. And then a step 5 after more time until you "Max out" at GS12 step 10.

              Most federal LE work on this pay scale and get LEAP. I am NOT sure if CBP does or whatever Homeland security agency you were referring to does or even pentagon police. I do know that all 1811 positions get that salary and some positions that ARE NOT 1811 off the top of my head that i am POSITIVE get that salary as well would be Uniformed Division of the Secret Service, Border Patrol, and the Federal Air Marshals Service.

              Some of those agencies operate on a different pay scale, but the bottom line is most Fed LE top out around 100k depending on the city after 3-5 years.

              Hope this helps and I didnt confuse you haha
              Last edited by DaShwstoppahbk; 05-04-2013, 03:05 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by DaShwstoppahbk View Post
                Most federal LE work on this pay scale and get LEAP. I am NOT sure if CBP does or whatever Homeland security agency you were referring to does or even pentagon police. I do know that all 1811 positions get that salary and some positions that ARE NOT 1811 off the top of my head that i am POSITIVE get that salary as well would be Uniformed Division of the Secret Service, Border Patrol, and the Federal Air Marshals Service.
                Border Patrol doesn't get LEAP. We get AUO....for now.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by mayburymh View Post
                  Border Patrol doesn't get LEAP. We get AUO....for now.
                  You are correct I should have clarified and said "a variation of leap" but was trying to stick to the basics to keep it easy to understand...I believe DEA gets AUO instead of LEAP as well but not 100% sure...it's still 25% extra am I correct?...But I heard when budgets get tight (like with current issues) its easier to take it away as opposed to LEAP...don't know enough about it I guess....is it fair to say under NORMAL circumstances you get paid it no matter what?
                  Last edited by DaShwstoppahbk; 05-04-2013, 10:55 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by DaShwstoppahbk View Post
                    You are correct I should have clarified and said "a variation of leap" I believe DEA gets AUO instead of LEAP as well....it's still 25% extra am I correct?...But I heard when budgets get tight (like with current issues) its easier to take it away as opposed to LEAP...don't know enough about it I guess....is it fair to say under NORMAL circumstances you get paid it no matter what?
                    AUO is on a graduated scale which is dependent on the average number of hours you work beyond 40/week. You need to average over 9/week to get the full 25%. And yes, it is absolutely easier to take it away when budgets get tight. We're living that fiasco right now.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by mayburymh View Post
                      AUO is on a graduated scale which is dependent on the average number of hours you work beyond 40/week. You need to average over 9/week to get the full 25%. And yes, it is absolutely easier to take it away when budgets get tight. We're living that fiasco right now.
                      Yea I knew it was something like that....I heard they were trying to take it away from BP...I feel for you guys...hope it all works out

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by DaShwstoppahbk View Post
                        OK here goes, I'm going to do the best I can here. I am a current FED so I have some idea on what most FED LE Agencies are compensated at. Pretty much any 1811 or "Special Agent" position which is what most people seem to want to get to at the federal level, will top you out at the GS12 or GS13 pay grade. Now it will take you usually 3-5 years to get to that grade because you usually get hired on at a GS7 or GS9 for those positions.

                        The best way to do this is to give you a example, so lets say you get hired on with the DEA as a 1811 criminal investigator. The pay is calculated as such. Your base pay, for most starting would be around GS7 which is equal to 33,750. Now lets say you are based in Dallas. You would have a automatic 20.67% added to that which equals another 6976. That gives you a salary of 40726. But that is not ALL. All 1811 positions also give you another 25% on TOP of that salary. If you do that math your total would come out to 50907. The 25% is called LEAP or law enforcement availability pay. YOU GET LEAP NO MATTER WHAT. The hours DO NOT have to be worked every pay period though this may vary depending on the agency. The reason you get the 25% is essentially the agency pays you for 50 hours every week whether you work the hours or not. It is their way to keep you on call without having to pay you OT if you work 45 hours a week. Now again that is a STARTING salary of 51K. That does not include holiday pay if you happen to work a holiday, any overtime you may work, ETC. Govt also pays you differentials of any hour past 6pm til 6am you get a 10% night differential and 25% if you work a Sunday. 35% for Sunday nights.

                        Assuming you get hired at a GS 7 you would be topped out to a GS13 with the DEA in 4 years. Assuming you are still in Dallas, your salary with LEAP would be 108,047. That is BEFORE any promotions you actually have to earn and is only after FOUR years working.

                        The way it works is each year barring any screwups by yourself, you get a merit promotion to the next grade. For instance, in the DEA you may be hired on at a GS 7, then after one year, move up to GS 9, then after another year GS 11 etc. Most agencies (from what I have seen and heard) go GS 7, 9, 11, 12, and if they top out at 13 then you would get 13 after another year. Some agencies only go as high as a 12 (Such as the US marshals) and their GS13 is a supervisor position.

                        Now once you hit your top grade whether it is a 12 or 13 you get a "step raise" every year or every few years. I am NOT sure how often you get a step increase and whether it is 1 or 2 or even every 3 years or if it depends on agency. But I do know you can keep moving up that grade even without promotion. For instance if you top out at a GS12 you could be a a GS 12 step 3 after another few years. And then a step 5 after more time until you "Max out" at GS12 step 10.

                        Most federal LE work on this pay scale and get LEAP. I am NOT sure if CBP does or whatever Homeland security agency you were referring to does or even pentagon police. I do know that all 1811 positions get that salary and some positions that ARE NOT 1811 off the top of my head that i am POSITIVE get that salary as well would be Uniformed Division of the Secret Service, Border Patrol, and the Federal Air Marshals Service.

                        Some of those agencies operate on a different pay scale, but the bottom line is most Fed LE top out around 100k depending on the city after 3-5 years.

                        Hope this helps and I didnt confuse you haha
                        Great breakdown. Its also important to note that Marshals don't start off as 1811s and thus do not qualify for LEAP pay until their 3rd year which is when they are converted to 1811s. I think they start out as 0083s if I'm correct. So Marshals make considerably less than other traditional 1811s. I think they are changing their journeymen to GS13s though last I heard. Also, the FBI only hires at GS10, so I believe they can go a bit past the GS13 level. I think theirs might be a GS15, but I maybe thinking about their SACs. Correct me if I'm wrong.

                        When you think about it, you are basically starting out lower on the pay scale then some locals are (Sunrise for instance), but after 4-5 years, you are going to be making considerably more than them (100K+) and not working near the overtime that a local would be working. Obviously if a local is promoted to Sgt, Lt, or Captain then their pay will go up and replace the overtime etc. but it shows the trade offs.

                        Vac, are you with Broward?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Another thing to ponder. Most places u get hired on the federal side are gonna send you to a high cost market. The DC's, LA, NYC, Bay Area, etc. 9 times outta 10, if your in an atl, Carolina's, PhX, Midwest.
                          Once u get hired u won't be staying. 100k is good money, but doesn't go that far in those high cost of living areas. I had to move from atl, to the east coast for my gig. I have honestly no hope of seeing Atlanta in the next 10 yrs.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by USMC0481 View Post
                            Great breakdown. Its also important to note that Marshals don't start off as 1811s and thus do not qualify for LEAP pay until their 3rd year which is when they are converted to 1811s. I think they start out as 0083s if I'm correct. So Marshals make considerably less than other traditional 1811s. I think they are changing their journeymen to GS13s though last I heard. Also, the FBI only hires at GS10, so I believe they can go a bit past the GS13 level. I think theirs might be a GS15, but I maybe thinking about their SACs. Correct me if I'm wrong.
                            You are correct Marshals start out as 0082's, but get their 1811 once they hit a GS11. That is usually after 2 yrs since most come on around a GS7....Once they get their GS11 and thereore their 1811, they get their LEAP. So at that point, they don't make "considerably less" they make EQUAL to any other Fed LEO at a GS11 with LEAP..they do make considerably less when they are hired since no LEAP to start though...they have been talking about "trying" to change their journeyman to GS13 for at least 5 years now, its sad cause they should get it without having to fight for it...I'm sure it will happen eventually but at the same pace as every govt change does...slowly

                            Also with the FBI, they do start at a GS10 but I'm almost 100% their top out bfore promotion is a GS13 though I could be wrong.
                            Last edited by DaShwstoppahbk; 05-05-2013, 06:48 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Esco View Post
                              Another thing to ponder. Most places u get hired on the federal side are gonna send you to a high cost market. The DC's, LA, NYC, Bay Area, etc. 9 times outta 10, if your in an atl, Carolina's, PhX, Midwest.
                              Once u get hired u won't be staying. 100k is good money, but doesn't go that far in those high cost of living areas. I had to move from atl, to the east coast for my gig. I have honestly no hope of seeing Atlanta in the next 10 yrs.
                              This is a VERY true statement especially currently...however it is possible to find cheaper housing in DC area and LA if you know where to look though it will still be higher than avg..it isn't outrageous....NYC is a nightmare though

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