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NoVA COL and salaries.

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  • NoVA COL and salaries.

    Hey guys, just getting a feel on the major NoVA departments (Prince William, Fairfax, Arlington, etc.) in terms of their salary and step rates, and the comparative cost of living and housing in the surrounding areas and realistic commuting zones.
    I notice across the board those departments start off around $55K, and reach top base around $95K. How many years does it take to reach top base is one of my questions.
    I gather it takes quite a few years to reach top base. 10-15 years perhaps?
    How is OT at these departments? I was able to view online a Prince William County salary website and notice a disparity across the board in salary, with bosses making $155 top, and a top cop making $133 (obviously after OT).
    Definitely would love to get someone’s first hand in terms of actual salary, salary steps to top base, and general living, COL in NoVA.

    If anyone feels uncomfortable responding details in this thread please PM me. I’m considering a move. I would definitely appreciate it!


    Thanks guys.
    Last edited by Smith010; 05-22-2021, 06:35 AM.

  • #2
    I’m in the process for 2 of the three departments you mentioned. COL will be higher the closer you are to DC

    1. Arlington County PD

    Pros:
    -highest starting salary of the three departments
    -pension is through the county, which is much better than VRS(Virginia state retirement system)
    -A good mix of city and suburbia policing(this is subjective)
    - very small county(26 square miles), and a mostly upper class community
    -not a lot of violence, can be more proactive if you want unlike just over the bridge in DC where they are drowning in gun violence
    -excellent academy(10 hours a day, 4 days a week)
    -10.5 hour shifts 5 days on- 4 days off- 5 days on- 4 days off- 5 days on-5 days off and then it repeats(this is subjective, everyone has their preference on work schedules but having 4 or 5 consecutive days off is nice)
    -plenty of OT available(again this is subjective and this is also a con which I will list below)

    Cons:
    -the highest cost of living in Virginia due to proximity to DC the salary is actually not too good when compared to the COL you will have to live farther out
    -lots of vacancies due to people leaving for other opportunities, many of them federal. These vacancies can make it really hard to move up away from patrol because they constantly have barely enough people to cover shortages on patrol. This also means you may be mandated to work past your off time. More OT for you but being mandated sucks
    -low morale and camaraderie varies due to micromanagement from certain leadership.
    -some leadership constantly looks for the the”bad” and the “good” you’ve done barely gets acknowledged. This causes lower motivation to actually be good pro active police
    -county leaders constantly breathe down the neck of the department which translates to the grunts on patrol having to deal with whatever the county thinks is important at the time. Senior leadership gets micromanaged by the county and the regular cops get micromanaged by the PD leadership.

    Prince William PD

    Pros:
    -got their own academy, great training and instructors
    - 10 hour shifts 5 days on, 5 days off, 5 days on, 4 days off, 5 days on, 4 days off and repeat(again work schedule preference is subjective)
    -mostly rural community policing(this is also a con for some people)
    -community supports the police from the surveys the county has done.
    -county leadership seems to not blame the police for every little thing. They actually increased funding for the police in the last year while most government leadership caved int the defund the police narrative.
    -take home car program if you live in the county
    -not a lot of major violence in general
    -lots of vacancies but this means lots of OT available

    Cons:
    -lowest starting salary of the three departments, but the county is not too expensive to live in
    -pension is under VRS
    -Shortage of about 40+ officers
    -micromanagement from some supervisors.
    -just got a new chief, time will tell if he’s going to bring a positive or negative change to the departments
    -some nepotism when it comes to promotions and new opportunities within the department


    Fairfax PD is the largest department of the 3. However they have their fair share of scandals and the county does not look favorably on the department. The county also seems poorly run, they have frozen pay steps for government employees several times even before covid. I did not apply to them. Hopefully things change for the better.

    Comment


    • 3309
      3309 commented
      Editing a comment
      Could you do a breakdown & comparsion of this with loudoun county sheriff as well & you have any insight on VA ABC special agents?

  • #3
    This is the best write-up I’ve seen on the NOVA agencies.

    Comment


    • #4
      Originally posted by coolbeans11 View Post
      I’m in the process for 2 of the three departments you mentioned. COL will be higher the closer you are to DC

      1. Arlington County PD

      Pros:
      -highest starting salary of the three departments
      -pension is through the county, which is much better than VRS(Virginia state retirement system)
      -A good mix of city and suburbia policing(this is subjective)
      - very small county(26 square miles), and a mostly upper class community
      -not a lot of violence, can be more proactive if you want unlike just over the bridge in DC where they are drowning in gun violence
      -excellent academy(10 hours a day, 4 days a week)
      -10.5 hour shifts 5 days on- 4 days off- 5 days on- 4 days off- 5 days on-5 days off and then it repeats(this is subjective, everyone has their preference on work schedules but having 4 or 5 consecutive days off is nice)
      -plenty of OT available(again this is subjective and this is also a con which I will list below)

      Cons:
      -the highest cost of living in Virginia due to proximity to DC the salary is actually not too good when compared to the COL you will have to live farther out
      -lots of vacancies due to people leaving for other opportunities, many of them federal. These vacancies can make it really hard to move up away from patrol because they constantly have barely enough people to cover shortages on patrol. This also means you may be mandated to work past your off time. More OT for you but being mandated sucks
      -low morale and camaraderie varies due to micromanagement from certain leadership.
      -some leadership constantly looks for the the”bad” and the “good” you’ve done barely gets acknowledged. This causes lower motivation to actually be good pro active police
      -county leaders constantly breathe down the neck of the department which translates to the grunts on patrol having to deal with whatever the county thinks is important at the time. Senior leadership gets micromanaged by the county and the regular cops get micromanaged by the PD leadership.

      Prince William PD

      Pros:
      -got their own academy, great training and instructors
      - 10 hour shifts 5 days on, 5 days off, 5 days on, 4 days off, 5 days on, 4 days off and repeat(again work schedule preference is subjective)
      -mostly rural community policing(this is also a con for some people)
      -community supports the police from the surveys the county has done.
      -county leadership seems to not blame the police for every little thing. They actually increased funding for the police in the last year while most government leadership caved int the defund the police narrative.
      -take home car program if you live in the county
      -not a lot of major violence in general
      -lots of vacancies but this means lots of OT available

      Cons:
      -lowest starting salary of the three departments, but the county is not too expensive to live in
      -pension is under VRS
      -Shortage of about 40+ officers
      -micromanagement from some supervisors.
      -just got a new chief, time will tell if he’s going to bring a positive or negative change to the departments
      -some nepotism when it comes to promotions and new opportunities within the department


      Fairfax PD is the largest department of the 3. However they have their fair share of scandals and the county does not look favorably on the department. The county also seems poorly run, they have frozen pay steps for government employees several times even before covid. I did not apply to them. Hopefully things change for the better.
      Excellent write up, thank you!
      Regarding Prince William, would you be able to afford a house in a nice area on their salary? Also, how many years does it take to reach top pay with these jobs? It seems to be around the 10 year mark.

      Comment


      • #5
        Alright, so I did a little more research. Steps to top pay seem to be around 15 years, and follow the other area agencies with “promotions” within the rank of PO, therefor creating a compressed pay progression. Promotion to Master PO is eligible at the 10 year mark, with a top base of 106K, whereas top base for a PO is 95K. Based from that NoVA article on earnings, there was only one PO with under 10 years who just cracked 100K.
        My question is, what can a PO under the 10 year mark realistically make, especially during the first 5-6 years?
        That’s the information I really want to know. Checking out the area, as well as housing prices. As you know, it all goes hand in hand.

        Thanks for any assistance guys.


        Comment

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