Study: Best & Worst States for Police Officers

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Ahead of National Police Week, which begins May 13, the personal-finance website WalletHub released its report on 2018’s Best & Worst States to Be a Police Officer.

WalletHub sought to determine the best states in which to pursue a career in law enforcement by comparing the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 25 key indicators of police-friendliness. According to WalletHub, “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.”

According to the report, the top ten states for careers as a police officer were, North Dakota, New York, Connecticut, Minnesota, California, Washington, Illinois, Texas, Maryland and Maine.

The worst states were Missouri, Tennessee, South Carolina, West Virginia, Kentucky, New Mexico, Alaska, Idaho, Louisiana and Arkansas.

Best vs. Worst

  • The District of Columbia has the most police and sheriff’s patrol officers per 100,000 residents, at 779.96, with Oregon having the fewest at 125.31 per 100,000 residents.
  • Police and sheriff’s patrol officers in Illinois have the highest median annual wage (adjusted for cost of living), $82,233, which is 2.2 times higher than in Hawaii, the lowest at $37,419.
  • Rhode Island is the state where the fewest individuals are killed by police per 1,000,000 residents,  at 4.75. New Mexico recorded the most individuals killed by law enforcement with 49.53 per 1,000,000 residents.
  • Maine has the fewest violent crimes per 1,000 residents, at 1.24, and the District of Columbia has the most, at 12.06.
  • The District of Columbia has the highest state and local police-protection expenses per capita, $887.19, which is nearly six times higher than in Kentucky, the lowest at $151.26.

More than 900,000 Americans work in the dangerous sector of law enforcement. In the past 10 years, more than 1,500 police officers died in the line of duty, while tens of thousands more were assaulted and injured. Peace Officers Memorial Day and Police Week is an observance in the United States that pays tribute to the local, state, and federal peace officers who have died or have been disabled in the line of duty. The Memorial takes place annually on May 15, and Police Week is observed during the calendar week in which the Memorial falls.

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