The 2019 Salary Survey

Dec. 17, 2019
If you ever wondered what others in your "pay grade" are actually being paid, here is a summary of our salary survey.

We performed a survey via our readership. While it only comprised of about 22 questions, the summary of all the data is over 150 pages long. Yes, that’s “summary” and “over 150 pages” in the same sentence. Here is a brief of the highlights. 

One of the questions identified the rank/position of the person taking the survey. Bear in mind that this was not just of executive personnel, but covered all ranks from the most rookie patrolman to chiefs and sheriffs. It makes sense that the largest responding group represents the largest population within the law enforcement community that we serve: that being management, supervisory and command staff personnel. As a result, just over 40% of our survey respondents held the rank of sergeant on up through major. Those who identified as executive or command staff accounted for another 23.5% of the responses while detectives/investigators/inspectors made up another 12.5%. Combined, those groups represent roughly 3/4 of our respondents.

When asked what described the respondent’s type of agency, just over 58% answered “municipality,” while another 20% answered county sheriff’s or police department. Those two groups alone make up well over 3/4 of our respondents with state police adding another 7% and “Other” contributing 10%.

For agency size, approximately half were 100 or more employees. The other half (49.8% versus 50.2%) were less than 100 employees. It’s worth noting, however, that “employees” is different from sworn strength and the division of employee size (20 to 49, 50 to 99, and 100+) is such that plenty of agencies with less than 50 sworn officers but enough support staff to push the total employee count over 50. The most recent surveys/polls we’ve seen on sworn strength still places approximately 55% of all law enforcement agencies in the country with less than 50 officers in sworn strength. It’s important to realize that most agencies in the country, even the largest ones, don’t have over 500 to 1,000 officers and those that do you can find on NFL team jerseys. How many NFL teams are there? There aren’t even that many cities with police departments over 1,000 officers.

In terms of actual salary, the largest bulk of respondents are paid between $25K to $100K (72%). That’s a big window, we know, but above that, the numbers are so small as to not be of much concern. What should be of larger concern is that there were actually respondents who get paid less than $25K per year. Unless they are part-time officers, that is absurd.

On a final note, we asked the takers if their salary had increased or decreased this year from last year and while the largest majority saw the cost of living increase amounts, 6% saw salary decreases and some of those decreases were more than 15% of their total salary.

Download the full report at

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