2019’s best and worst states to be a police officer

With National Police Week kicking off on May 12, the personal-finance website WalletHub Wednesday released its report on 2019’s Best & Worst States to Be a Police Officer as well as accompanying videos.

Law enforcement is a career that is always in the public eye, whether it’s for heroic reasons or scandal. It’s a profession that more than 900,000Americans hold, knowing full well the hazards associated with their occupation. In the past 10 years, for instance, more than 1,500 police officers, including 158 in 2018 alone, died in the line of duty. Tens of thousands more were assaulted and injured.

Because of such risks, law-enforcement agencies must offer enough incentives to attract and retain officers. So what qualities define a good place to live and work for police? To start, there’s a $63,380 mean annual wage that exceeds the $51,960 for all occupations. On top of that, there’s typically a generous benefits package that can include retirement-contribution matches, tuition assistance, ample leave time, a take-home vehicle, and access to health and fitness facilities. Officers also may begin drawing full retirement benefits as early as age 40, depending on when they entered the force.

Beyond financial perks, officers are more likely to be attracted to police departments that steer clear of scandal and corruption and that are transparent with their communities. Public opinion on police remains divided, with younger people and minorities rating them much less positively than older caucasians. Naturally, police departments that have better relations with the areas they patrol are more attractive to new officers.

In order to determine the best states to pursue a career in law enforcement, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 27 key indicators of police-friendliness. The data set ranges from median income for law-enforcement officers to police deaths per 1,000 officers to state and local police-protection expenses per capita.

Life & Work for Cops in Texas (1=Best; 25=Avg.)

4 th – Law-Enforcement Officers per Capita
8 th – Median Income for Law-Enforcement Officers (Adjusted for Cost of Living)
39 th – Median Income Growth for Law-Enforcement Officers
35 th – Violent-Crime Rate
15 th – % of Homicide Cases Solved
33 rd – State & Local Police-Protection Expenses per Capita
29 th – Police Deaths per 1,000 Officers

Note: “Law-enforcement officers” includes police and sheriff’s patrol officers, detectives and criminal investigators.

For the full report, please visit:
https://wallethub.com/edu/best-states-to-be-a-cop/34669/

Best States to Be a Cop

Overall Rank
(1=Best)

State

Total Score

‘Opportunity & Competition’ Rank

‘Job Hazards & Protections’ Rank

‘Quality of Life’ Rank

1
New York
60.19
4
11
10

2
Maryland
58.73
9
10
5

3
California
58.40
2
6
34

4
New Hampshire
56.23
25
9
2

5
Indiana
54.50
5
25
17

6
North Dakota
54.22
19
23
1

7
Minnesota
53.86
6
16
25

8
Massachusetts
53.76
3
12
43

9
New Jersey
52.90
15
2
36

10
Connecticut
52.80
39
4
8

11
Illinois
52.77
7
27
9

12
Nebraska
51.12
16
7
37

13
South Dakota
50.53
49
3
6

14
Rhode Island
50.14
45
1
24

15
Vermont
50.12
14
5
42

16
Iowa
49.97
18
15
27

17
Virginia
49.35
11
8
48

18
Kansas
48.54
32
38
3

19
Colorado
48.43
8
29
31

20
Oregon
48.02
38
13
26

21
Texas
48.00
12
31
19

22
Florida
47.97
23
36
7

23
Missouri
47.94
10
24
38

24
Pennsylvania
47.91
33
14
30

25
Maine
47.39
46
17
18

26
District of Columbia
47.09
1
48
35

27
Washington
46.83
27
18
33

28
Hawaii
46.69
28
35
16

29
Ohio
46.42
20
26
28

30
Mississippi
46.26
42
21
14

31
Michigan
45.71
22
34
21

32
North Carolina
45.45
13
20
44

33
Montana
45.44
21
37
22

34
Nevada
43.94
43
32
13

35
Delaware
43.90
47
19
20

36
Wyoming
42.34
29
28
41

37
Idaho
41.52
34
22
46

38
Utah
41.42
50
33
11

39
Alabama
41.36
24
49
15

40
West Virginia
40.94
36
50
4

41
Wisconsin
40.73
40
40
23

42
Alaska
40.42
17
45
32

43
Oklahoma
39.34
48
44
12

44
Georgia
38.79
37
30
49

45
Tennessee
38.48
31
39
47

46
South Carolina
37.75
35
43
39

47
Arizona
37.09
41
47
29

48
New Mexico
36.27
30
46
45

49
Kentucky
33.43
51
41
40

50
Arkansas
32.38
44
42
51

51
Louisiana
31.69
26
51
50