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Living “comfortably” as a police officer?

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  • Living “comfortably” as a police officer?

    Hello, I am an 18 year old high school senior and I have been extremely interested in being a police officer for just about as long as I can remember. However, my parents happen to be pretty strong business people and tell me that I will not be able to live comfortably as a police officer. Now obviously the salary is not what attracted me to be a police officer but I wanted to know from some actual police officers, could I live comfortably? I know that’s a relative term but I don’t want an extravagant lifestyle by any means. I want to live in Ohio, maybe a 2,000 sq ft. house, 2 or 3 kids. Just average cars, perfectly fine if they’re used. It’s just really been my dream for such a log time but I want to make sure I can keep my future family happy. I appreciate it.

  • #2
    For the most part, yes, living "comfortably" as a LEO is totally possible. Obviously, salary will vary according to the department and how "comfortably" you'll live will depend on the cost of living in the area, but you won't have to live on food stamps if you manage your money (just like with any other profession).

    Salaries in Ohio are decent, but we generally see a lower cost of living than some other areas, so that works in our favor. There can be a pretty big difference between salaries for smaller rural departments and larger suburban/urban ones, but you see that anywhere.
    Last edited by Bing_Oh; 01-15-2019, 02:52 PM.
    "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."
    -Friedrich Nietzsche

    Comment


    • Griffin4Lif3
      Griffin4Lif3 commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you very much!

    • Exbpa340
      Exbpa340 commented
      Editing a comment
      What’s the best paid local law enforcement agency in Ohio? What range of pay?

  • #3
    I lived on my salary in Iowa with a wife who's full time job was taking care of the children. I worked very little overtime and over half of my career as a line officer. I promoted and worked the last 15 yrs as a supervisor.......

    Living comfortably is a relative term, but I never missed a house or car payment and we had heat in the winter and AC in the summer. We lived paycheck to paycheck and had few "extras". Vacations to Disney World were out of the question but when I retired I retired debt free.

    Now in semi retirement I live more than comfortably .
    Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

    My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

    Comment


    • Griffin4Lif3
      Griffin4Lif3 commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you for the information sir.

  • #4
    You wouldn’t be the first person to live comfortably as a police officer. It’s definitely possible. It’s called living within your means.

    Comment


    • Griffin4Lif3
      Griffin4Lif3 commented
      Editing a comment
      That is very true.

  • #5
    One path to live comfortable would be a Criminal Investigator (1811) with the federal government. These positions pay very well and one can live exceptionally well across the country and especially in lower cost of living areas.

    On the very low end (Rest of US locality) an 1811 will make 110k to 141k at full performance level. At the top end (San Francisco locality) the pay is between 131k and 171k at full performance level.

    The pay for Cleveland would be $113,517 to $147,573. Keep in mind that you more than likely need to obtain a bachelors degree and possibly some LEO experience before you would be competitive for an 1811 position.
    “Right now I'm having amnesia and déjà vu at the same time. I think I've forgotten this before.” - Steven Wright

    US Army MP (95B) 1992-1997
    DOJ Agent/ DHS Officer 1997 to Present

    Comment


    • Griffin4Lif3
      Griffin4Lif3 commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you very much for the information.

    • moparfan
      moparfan commented
      Editing a comment
      Yeah then worry about a shut down.

      Living comfortable means living with in your base salary period. Making sure don't depend on over time to come bills. Over time should only be used as play money. You want to buy a new truck, gun, go on a vacation then do over time.

    • Exbpa340
      Exbpa340 commented
      Editing a comment
      Shutdowns can be problematic but they sure beat the layoffs that some local jurisdictions go through when times are tough.

      Each job has its ups and downs... there are a few places in the country that a police officer can make six figures but the in the far majority of the country they make about half of that. In the cheapest locations across the country the minimum pay for an 1811 (GS 13) is over 110k a year. In these same places police officers are making 30 to 40k.

  • #6
    I guess there's comfortable and then there's comfortable. I'm in California where the cost of living is a bit higher. After five years, most cops here are making six figure incomes. Our pensions are around 90% of what we earn. Is that comfortable enough for you (or your parents) ?

    As a side note, most of us do not measure our quality of life by how much money we make. Instead, we measure it by the quality of our families, friends, co-workers, our life experiences and what we can do for others. As some have said, when you take this job you are given a front row seat to the greatest show on earth. That alone is priceless.

    It's all up to you and not your parents. Choose wisely and choose well.



    .

    Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

    Comment


    • Griffin4Lif3
      Griffin4Lif3 commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you, that’s a very good way of looking at it. I understand that.

  • #7
    As everyone said, it varies by Department and cost of living in the area. My agency starts new officers in the mid 60's and it only goes up from there. I'm the sole income in our home so we live within our means quite comfortably, yes.

    Comment


    • Griffin4Lif3
      Griffin4Lif3 commented
      Editing a comment
      Wow. That’s extremely impressive!

    • NW121
      NW121 commented
      Editing a comment
      Collective bargaining agreements are wonderful things. The average salary for a police officer in the US is around 35k so it varies by area. There's also a lot to what L-1 said above; it's a front row seat to the greatest show on Earth.

  • #8
    As a whole, Ohio has a very affordable cost of living. Your comfort level will depend on where you work. There are full time officers in Ohio making $15 an hour. There are full time officers in Ohio making over 100 grand a year. What are your plans after high school? Stay out of trouble. You are at the perfect age to start doing stupid things that will have long term consequences on hiring decisions.

    Comment


    • Griffin4Lif3
      Griffin4Lif3 commented
      Editing a comment
      I plan to attend a 4 year college with a decent amount of scholarships I’ve racked up and hopefully come out with near $5,000-$8,000 in debt which isn’t too shabby. Also, I’m really not a party guy in any way shape or form, I am a rule follower and I intend on staying that way so that there is no issue of me being able to become a police officer.

  • #9
    L1 makes a great point! I was an 1811 (Special Agent - Criminal Investigator) for the Treasury Dept. The pay was good, but the personal satisfaction of "Protecting and Supporting the Constitution from all enemies, Foreign and Domestic" was the real reward. I saved people from drug addition, unsafe cars, unhealthy foods, phony drugs, and added millions - yes MILLIONS to the general fund of the U.S. Treasury. In one case alone, the penalty was $15 Million dollars.

    Could I have made more money working elsewhere? Probably. Would I have felt as good about what I did for "WE, THE PEOPLE"? Nope.

    There is much more to life than the numbers on a paycheck.
    "A man who has nothing which he cares about more than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the existing of better men than himself."
    John Stuart Mill

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    • #10
      Tell your folks you want to work for the CHP. They have lots of OT gigs...
      Now go home and get your shine box!

      Comment


      • #11
        Yep, absolutely....and the have the flexibility of working part time jobs to save up for something, pay off a bill, send family to college...without having to dip in to savings or extend themselves with loans.

        Very few jobs now days have an actual pension/retirement...most just offer a 401K. When the job market is great, people don't go for government jobs. You join up early in your life and retire at 20 or 25 years, or continue and double your money. I've had smart friends who started at 21 and retired at age 55 with over 30yrs service in the same retirement system.
        Last edited by Kraut0783; 02-04-2019, 08:03 PM.

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        • #12
          Originally posted by CCCSD View Post
          Tell your folks you want to work for the CHP. They have lots of OT gigs...
          Good idea. He might even be able to stay in Ohio and still collect CHP overtime.

          Comment


          • RGDS
            RGDS commented
            Editing a comment
            Zing!!!!!!!

        • #13
          If Bill gates woke with my money he’d jump out of his plane without a parachute and slit his throat on the way down...

          ha. But In all seriousness. Living comfortable is relative. And everyone is different. If you want to drive around in a Bentley and have a 6 million dollar home, maybe find a different line of work.


          On the the other hand, if you want to live in a beautiful home and eat good and enjoy life. You can def do that.

          Comment


          • #14
            Originally posted by not.in.MY.town View Post

            Good idea. He might even be able to stay in Ohio and still collect CHP overtime.
            Probably. Doesn’t seem they really pay attention to actually BEING THERE...
            Now go home and get your shine box!

            Comment


            • #15
              If you go to the Ohio State Highway Patrol website under Trooper recruiting, they have a very good breakdown of salary and benefits for a Trooper throughout their career. That way you can see and show your parents the hard data that is published.

              Comment


              • Bing_Oh
                Bing_Oh commented
                Editing a comment
                Yea, just as long as he doesn't expect to make Trooper pay with most other departments in Ohio...Troopers make pretty good money in comparison.

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