Leader

Collapse

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

What is the lowest paid police department you know of?

Collapse

300x250 Mobile

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • What is the lowest paid police department you know of?

    I am interested in becoming a LEO, so I've been looking at different department pay scales in my state(Texas). The average is in the low 20s, but I've noticed some departments were hiring at as low as $15 per hour. What are some departments you know of that pay extremely low compared to big name police Departments.
    Also are the quality of low wage police officers comparable to highly paid police officers? Are they worst? As good?

  • #2
    Interesting question. I recall when I was stationed in NM Sante Fe had maybe the highest minimum wage in the country at the time and their police officers started at just about $1 an hour more than the minimum wage. When I was in FLETC a guy in my CITP class had spent 7 years as a deputy in GA prior to becoming a Fed. He said he worked a lot of overtime because he was assigned to a narcotics group for a few years. He said with OT his best year was just about $40K. This would be about 5 years ago.

    Where I live now it's the opposite. Recruit officers start at over $50/hr and once out of the academy they bump to over $68/hr. They top out at over $87/hr. So with OT and possibly a few extra pays, most officers here make over $200K/yr. Total comp is high 200s to low 300s for most.
    Last edited by 9L81; 02-08-2021, 02:53 AM.

    Comment


    • #3
      I can't speak to TX, but in the upper Midwest, I know of some small-town departments with starting pay under $20/Hr. Certainly, cost of living comes into play -- it's a lot cheaper to live here than on the coasts, and even less expensive to live in a small rural town than a larger city (I watch the real estate listings in my old hometown and reasonable family homes can still be had for ~$200,000). Even so, it's hard to imagine doing this job for under $40K/Yr.

      Comment


      • #4
        I recall some very small Wisconsin police departments as recent as 2020 having a wage of about $10 per hour.

        Comment


        • Gerald2121
          Gerald2121 commented
          Editing a comment
          That's crazy, I understand cost of living plays a role, but I believe there should be a minimum wage cops should get. But unfortunately departments rely on local taxes to pay their officers. I believe $15 should be minimum no matter where in the US.

      • #5
        The spectrum is amazing. We always knew the pay was different in different places, but wow.

        Our plan from the beginning, was to earn my pension in a place that paid well, and then retire to spend it in a place with a lower cost of living.

        It worked out very well- I didn't even finish high school, yet I retired younger than almost all of my peers, and we now own a ranch in Texas.

        Another benefit, is the lifestyle it affords BEFORE you retire. Sure, real estate is more expensive in places that pay more, but if you scale back your housing, you start to see that a lot of things cost the same regardless of where you live, like vehicles and travel (both of which are hobbies of ours). A cop making $40K a year probably can never afford life experiences like flying the wife to Paris for dinner in the Eiffel Tower, but for us it was just the beginning of a month-long trip. He's probably never going to be able to afford to custom-order a new Porsche convertible, but for me it was just my commuter car.

        And trying to do it the other way around is pretty much impossible. There's no way cop making $40K a year is ever going to retire to paradise. He'll be lucky if he's able to retire indoors, and he's never going to be able to live anywhere in the country that isn't dirt cheap.

        Comment


        • #6
          High pay does not automatically mean high quality. There are guys busting their hump and doing quality police work for $16 an hour, and there are guys in the next county over making 100K who don't hit a lick. You get into the old steel and coal towns where folks are happy to have a $12 an hour Walmart job, $18 an hour is good money. There are a lot of small town chiefs making somewhere around 45K a year.

          Comment


          • Gerald2121
            Gerald2121 commented
            Editing a comment
            I will never be married or have kids, so pay is not a huge deciding factor for me, i just want to be a cop and serve a community, big or small, poor or rich, I'm hoping for Atleast 19, but if $16 is my only option i make the most out if it, and serve to my best. Maybe one day move somewhere else with the experience I gained.

        • #7
          I've worked in small town LE in the Midwest my entire career. The average in my area is $40-60k...the $100k+ jobs guys talk about is unheard of. Early in my career, I worked reserve (unpaid) and part-time for under $12/hr. I know of smaller departments near me that still pay $12-15/hr full-time.

          You have small towns with low crime rates and lower cost of living, but you also have larger towns that don't understand that keeping up pay and benefits is a way to recruit quality candidates. And the pay can vary wildly depending on geographic region.
          "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


          • #8
            A lot of folks underestimate what their salary actually is.

            Most take their hourly wage and multiply it times 40, because that's how many hours their are in a traditional work week. Then, then multiply that times 4, because we all think of there being 4 weeks in a month, but there are not.

            There are 365 days in a 12 month year. Each month averages 4.34 weeks. This makes your monthly salary a bit bigger than you think. How much will depend on whether there are 28, 30 or 31 day in the month, but it is still more.

            At $15 per hour, 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, one's pay for 4 weeks is $2,400, but for 4.34 weeks, it's $2,604. If that's splitting hairs, then feel free to send me that extra $204 each month.

            I only bring this up because when moving from job to job because of higher pay, a lot of people don't realize what they are already making and wind up short changing themselves.

            A friend recently left his job with a city PD to take a job with the state. He knew he was taking a pay cut, but he would be able to work out of his house, work plain clothes, have a take home unmarked car, state issued phone, pager and all sorts of neat toys, which made up for the salary loss. What he screwed up on was, the state pays a monthly salary (once a month - 4.34 weeks ) whereas his city paid every two weeks and he counted two of his city paycheck (4 weeks) as a month's pay when doing his pay comparisons. Only then did he discover how deep of a pay cut he was really taking - one he couldn't afford. Three days in he quit his state job, went back to his old agency and begged his Chief for his old position back.

            Many jobs talk about monthly pay. Make sure you understand what monthly actually encompasses so you don't wind up shortchanging yourself. It may not be the figure quoted divided by 4 to come up with a week's wages.
            Last edited by L-1; 02-08-2021, 06:30 PM.
            Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

            Comment


            • ChiTownDet
              ChiTownDet commented
              Editing a comment
              I usually multiply hourly pay by 2080 (usual number of hours worked in a year) to get your yearly pay.

          • #9
            Also don't underestimate the other stuff like what a defined benefit retirement will cost as far as percent the employee is responsible for and what happens if the costs go up as far as cost sharing. Will you even get a defined benefit plan? Will you pay into social security or not? Is there a defined contribution plan like a 457b, and if so does the employer match any of the contributions. What are the employee and employer costs toward medical/dental/vision/life ins/disability etc. Is there retiree medical. If not how old will you be when you retire?

            ​​​​​​Is there a cafeteria plan and if so what happens to unused money. The city I worked for paid something like $1300 a month on the cafeteria plan. My wife had full benefits at the time so that was extra pay in my pocket whereas some agencies will only allow a certain amount to be kept as pay if not used and some don't allow any to be kept. Others don't have a cafeteria plan in the first place.

            At the end of the day the dollars per hour is just a piece of the overall financial pie. Last time I looked my benefits were worth almost $78,000 a year. That's as a Fed. The benefits for locals when I did it were definitely better though a lot of that has changed in the last 10 years.

            All that said, some agencies pay more than others for good reason and sometimes they just do. Doesn't mean an agency is necessarily better or worse than other agencies.

            Comment


            • #10
              Well spoken. By the time you add in the "other stuff", I made more than the average surgeon does...

              Comment


              • #11
                Originally posted by 9L81 View Post
                Interesting question. I recall when I was stationed in NM Sante Fe had maybe the highest minimum wage in the country at the time and their police officers started at just about $1 an hour more than the minimum wage. When I was in FLETC a guy in my CITP class had spent 7 years as a deputy in GA prior to becoming a Fed. He said he worked a lot of overtime because he was assigned to a narcotics group for a few years. He said with OT his best year was just about $40K. This would be about 5 years ago.

                Where I live now it's the opposite. Recruit officers start at over $50/hr and once out of the academy they bump to over $68/hr. They top out at over $87/hr. So with OT and possibly a few extra pays, most officers here make over $200K/yr. Total comp is high 200s to low 300s for most.
                Wow! You work in the bay area?

                Comment


                • 9L81
                  9L81 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Yes. Is there somewhere else that pays like that? Asking for a friend...

                • Aidokea
                  Aidokea commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Yes, there is...

                • SOCAleo
                  SOCAleo commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Nope, not that I know of, and if I did know I'd be working there right now. I saw recently on a PORAC magazine that a top step BART PD officer makes $170,000 k a year! That's some good money! I've been reading too that the rent prices in San Francisco have been plummeting due to COVID and being able to work remotely. People are fleeing the city cause they can work from home now.

                  So, making $170 k a year and being able to rent a decent place for less than 4 k a month is now pretty doable in that area maybe.

                  Wonder how BART can afford a compensation package like that?
                  Last edited by SOCAleo; 02-10-2021, 02:38 PM.

                • 9L81
                  9L81 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I just looked up BART. They are currently showing a base salary as high as $120K with a bachelor's degree. However looking on transparent CA and there are a bunch of officers who in 2019 made a bit less than $120K base but total comp was high $300K into the low $400K range because of tons of OT, benefits, pension debt, other pay. Their highest in 2019 was an officer who racked up almost $475K in total comp. So I do wonder how they will find going forward because AFAIK their ridership is way way down and in reality won't recover to what it was prepandemic.

                  Base where I am runs from $142-182K. But I don't think officers here are earning more than their base in OT like I saw with some of the BART officers. My friend in the local PD works as little as possible because he is pretty well burnt out. Rather than $130K in OT his last listed year was well under $5K.

              • #12
                Obviously cost of living is a big factor. It helps to compare the median police officer salary to the median household income within the same locality. Let's say the median household income is 60K, then a cop earning 60K (as a single earner) makes a pretty decent living. If they only make 30K, it's probably barely enough to get by. If they make 120K, then they are very well compensated. Obviously a new officer is going to be at the low end of the spectrum for a while.

                Also, there's a lot more to it than just the hourly rate or annual base pay. Depending on circumstances, there's assignment pay, bonus pay, call-out pay, stand-by pay, court pay, shift differential, promotional increases, longevity pay, second language pay, education pay, uniform allowance, equipment allowance, and the list goes on. Add OT and/or off-duty assignments and you're easily tripling your base pay. And then add the value of your total benefits package.

                Like others have said, a good strategy is to earn your pension in a high cost of living area and then retire to a lower cost of living area to make your money go further. I just retired in my late forties after 25 years of service. The cost of living in my area is high, but between my pension, deferred comp and free medical, I could probably live comfortably without working another day in my life. On the other hand, if I were to sell my house and move to a lower cost of living area I'd have money to burn.

                Comment


                • #13
                  When I started I was making about $16/ hr and I know we weren’t the lowest paid agency in CO. Near where I work now, a small town’ deputy marshals start around $35k

                  Cost of living is a factor... some guys pulling 6 figures in CA are effectively making less than guys making $50k elsewhere... but the guy making $100k will have his retirement based on that, and can move somewhere less expensive after retirement.
                  Last edited by tanksoldier; 02-09-2021, 10:38 PM.
                  "I am a Soldier. I fight where I'm told and I win where I fight." -- GEN George S. Patton, Jr.

                  "With a brother on my left and a sister on my right, we face…. We face what no one should face. We face, so no one else would face. We are in the face of Death." -- Holli Peet

                  Comment


                  • 9L81
                    9L81 commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Or find a way to manage living in a relatively low cost area while working in a higher cost area. I know a few locals that work in the bay area in cities where an average SFH is $2M+ but they live in nice suburbs around Sacramento. My friend who does it has a house now worth about $1M where he lives though he got it for about half that.

                    If he had that house in the city he works it would be $3-4M. In other areas it could go for over $5M. Helps that he has family locally to stay with during his work week and his work schedule is a 3 on one week and 4 the next.

                    It all depends on what's important to you.

                  • SOCAleo
                    SOCAleo commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Sacramento, Bay area copland.

                • #14
                  I will never be married or have kids, so pay is not a huge deciding factor for me, i just want to be a cop and serve a community, big or small, poor or rich, I'm hoping for Atleast 19, but if $16 is my only option i make the most out if it, and serve to my best. Maybe one day move somewhere else with the experience I gained.
                  I think I've heard some version of this sentiment from nearly all of the 18-21YO wannabe-cops I've ever met. 10 years or more on, they have a very different tune.
                  Last edited by orangebottle; 02-10-2021, 01:20 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #15
                    A lot of folks underestimate what their salary actually is.
                    I don't know if such a thing exists -- I've never come across it -- but I see a need in the marketplace for someone who can serve as an income or compensation advisor. Essentially, the role is to evaluate a person's recent/current income and compare it to what can be expected from a new position. Then, make a recommendation on the financial benefits of staying vs. moving on. As you mention in your response, there are a lot of aspects of compensation that the average person never takes into account as they make these types of life-altering decisions.

                    For example, I held of many years before making my jump from my corporate life to full-time law enforcement. One of the barriers was my perceived pay-cut -- on paper the cop job was around a 20% reduction in income. Luckily, my wife's career took off and her increased pay allowed me a bit more freedom in my compensation, so I made the move.

                    Fast forward 6 months into the new life and I noticed my paychecks were around the same...sometimes more, depending on OT. As I started to pay closer attention to things, I realized I was spending WAY less for my benefits package (healthcare coverage alone saved me around $700/month). It dawned on me that I'd been working for years in a career I never really enjoyed in large part because I'd never sat down to do the complete math.

                    Consulting with someone experienced in these matters may have allowed me to change careers way earlier.

                    Comment

                    MR300x250 Tablet

                    Collapse

                    What's Going On

                    Collapse

                    There are currently 4747 users online. 320 members and 4427 guests.

                    Most users ever online was 158,966 at 04:57 AM on 01-16-2021.

                    Welcome Ad

                    Collapse
                    Working...
                    X