Police officers have one of the highest average salaries in the nation and enjoy many excellent benefits and incentives that are hard to find elsewhere. For example, San Diego police officers can get up to $50,000 in down payment assistance to purchase a home! Read on to learn more about police officer benefits and what other law enforcement agencies have to offer.
With an estimated salary of $67,600, police officers make $14,110 more than the average worker, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some agencies even pay recruits while they attend the academy. The Los Angeles Police Department pays officers $67,546 during basic training.
While pay varies based on a number of factors, most departments and agencies offer additional compensation on top of one’s base salary. Common forms of supplemental pay include thousands of dollars in uniform allowance and longevity pay.
Police officers enjoy a wide range of benefits. Here’s an overview of some of the most common ones.
- Excellent insurance coverage
- Many agencies offer medical, dental, and vision coverage in their insurance plans.
- Retirement plan
- One of the best things about becoming a police officer is the retirement plan. Some agencies allow officers to fully retire after just 20 years of service.
- Paid vacation and sick leave
- Agencies largely offer a significant amount of paid time off. Some agencies offer 180 hours of paid vacation each year! In terms of paid sick leave, some departments offer up to 96 hours annually.
- Four day work week and/or four day weekends
- This benefit speaks for itself! A number of departments, including San Diego and San Jose, allow officers to work just four days a week.
- Take-home vehicles
- One of the common police officer benefits you may not have heard of is that officers can get issued a take-home vehicle. This depends on different factors, like an officer’s specific position or years spent working for the agency.
Most candidates aren’t aware of the many pay incentives agencies offer recruits. These incentives can be a fixed amount or a certain percentage of one’s base salary. From academic incentives to tuition assistance, take a look at some more great reasons to pursue a career in law enforcement!
- Academic incentives
- Many agencies offer degree-holding officers extra pay. The amount paid often depends on the type of degree an officer holds, from Associate’s degree to Ph.D.
- Tuition assistance
- Departments across the country have extensive tuition assistance programs. These allow officers to essentially take college classes for free by having the agency pay for their tuition.
- Student loan forgiveness
- Police officers working for a variety of departments, like the Albuquerque Police Department, can qualify for Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness and other similar services. Up to 100% of one’s remaining student loans can be forgiven through these programs.
- Bilingual incentives
- Some agencies pay officers more for being able to speak multiple languages! To qualify for this incentive, officers usually must pass a fluency test.
- Special assignment pay
- Certain positions and assignments at agencies earn special assignment pay. These positions include, but definitely aren’t limited to Community Relations Officers, Field Training Officers, and Canine Unit Officers.
- Special training pay
- By taking specific training classes and becoming specialists, officers can qualify for special training pay. Officers in Fremont, California are paid 5% of their base salary if they receive special training pay.
- Court pay
- Agencies across the country offer additional pay for officers who are required to appear in court.