Police officers enforce laws to protect individuals and communities. Many police officers work for local, state or federal government agencies. Most law enforcement employers require police officers to attend academy training for an average of four months to one year. After training, police officers often serve an additional six months to one year In a probationary period. In April 2011, PayScale estimated the entry-level salary of a police officer based on years of experience.
Salaries reported for police officers based on experience are from 3,175 people participating in PayScale’s salary survey. Those with less than one year of experience earn an average salary ranging from $30,294 to $44,561 per year. Those with one to four years of experience earn average salaries ranging from $33,145 to $50,314 per year.
Of those reporting their wages to PayScale, 1,648 police officers reported earning hourly wages. Those with less than one year of experience earn an average of $9.37 to $15.32 per hour. Police officers with one to four years of experience earn an average of $13.80 to $22.37 per hour.
Along with a base salary, police officers receive benefits and other compensation such as bonuses and profit sharing. Of the 4,823 police officers with all levels of experience reporting their wages to PayScale, 92 percent report receiving benefits such as health, dental and vision care. Of the 3,089 police officers reporting their paid vacation time, those with less than one year of experience earn 1.6 weeks of vacation time and those with one to four years of experience earn two weeks. Those with less than one year of experience earn an average bonus of $975 per year. Those with one to four years of experience earn an average bonus of $1,025 per year.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2009, 641,590 police officers and sheriff’s patrol officers were working in the U.S. Annual median wages for police officers with all levels of experience were $53,210 or $25.58 per hour. The 25th percentile earned $40,450 per year and the 75th percentile earned $67,990 per year.