Top five states for finding law enforcement jobs

If you’re considering police work, you’ll want to know the top states for finding law enforcement jobs.  Overall, the outlook for employment in law enforcement is good, with openings in local, state and federal agencies.  Many of these job openings will be created by the retirement or promotion of law enforcement officers. Increased job slots will also occur due to increases in population. While budget cuts can mean that some job openings will remain unfilled, population growth demands that a certain number of law enforcement personnel need to remain in place in order for agencies to run effectively.

The easiest law enforcement jobs to get will be those with local agencies where the salaries are the lowest. The greatest amount of competition will exist for jobs at federal agencies that offer the best compensation packages. Applicants with the highest level of education and previous law enforcement experience will have the best shot at getting law enforcement jobs.

What follows are the top five states for finding law enforcement employment:


According to labor market statistics, California is the state with the best prospects for finding law enforcement jobs.  Between 2008 and 2018, the state is expected to add an additional 18,600 law enforcement personnel to the employment rosters.  The current employee estimate is 72,200.  The highest job growth in law enforcement occurs in Los Angeles, where 5,800 jobs are expected to be added to employment rolls during that period. The average number of annual law enforcement job openings in California is 2,380. The median pay for police patrol officers is $37.75 per hour.  The average pay for detectives and criminal investigators in California is $42.00 per hour.

The state that’s second in line for the number of law enforcement jobs is Florida, where the employment rolls for police and sheriff’s patrol officers is expected to grow by 1,250 in the next 12 months.  The projected growth for these positions is 7,450 through 2016.  The median annual salary for a police patrol officer in Orlando is $46,740.

Georgia is next in line when it comes to obtaining law enforcement jobs.  Projections show an increase of 3,530 job openings between now and 2016.  There are currently 18,750 patrol officers employed in the state.  The median salary for a police patrol officer in Atlanta, Georgia is $49,800.

Arizona comes in fourth in the growth of law enforcement jobs, with estimates showing an increase of 2,840 openings between now and 2016.  The average police patrol officer in Arizona is $40,000.

New York’s growth in law enforcement jobs is estimated to be 2,820 by 2016.  New York State has 514 local law enforcement agencies.  The average salary of a patrol officer in New York is $60,000.

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