Best Places to be a Police Officer

by Allison Crowson, MJA on 3/17/16 3:59 PM

best places to be a police officerThe United States consists of varied landscapes, diverse cultures, and people from all walks of life. With such great diversity, each state has developed its own characteristics. When deciding where the best place is to be a police officer, there are many factors to consider.

Determining what drives you to be a police officer will help you formulate which location is best to expand your professional career. You may be curious about what the highest paying states are, but don’t forget to consider what your commute will entail, the cost of living in the area, or the opportunity for job growth in the department. There are also other factors to consider depending on your individual interests, such as which locations have the highest gang activity or the areas with the worst drug problems.

Highest Paying States

When looking into police officer salary by state, the following highest paying states were mentioned frequently.

  • New Jersey
  • California
  • Illinois
  • Connecticut
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Washington
  • Colorado
Let Norwich help you go further. Download our free criminal justice brochure.

Well-Balanced Cities

If you’re interested in being a police officer in a city, check out this list of the top 25 cities for police officers that reveals the population, average salary, cost of living rank, average commute time, and job growth ranking for each city.

Cities with High Gang Activity

Many individuals pursue employment in a police department because of the positive influence they are able to have in that particular community. If your interest rests in decreasing gang activity and violence, then the following cities may be ones you wish to work in.

  • Long Beach, CA
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Newark, NJ
  • Oakland, CA
  • Oklahoma City, OK

The report with these findings is based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Violent Death Reporting System, comparing gang and non-gang violence and homicide.

Endless Opportunities

Don’t hesitate to choose which department is best for your lifestyle. In the past 12 months, there have been over 10,000 online job postings for police officers nationally, compared to the 7,000 postings the previous year. The jobs and police resources are out there, so let these findings help you start thinking about what you value most for your career.

If you are still struggling to determine what motivates you to be a police officer, advancing your education can help you hone your skills and find your interests. At Norwich University, we offer a bachelor’s degree completion program in criminal justice, where you can minor in intelligence and security management or tailor your studies with many electives to meet your needs.

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This post was written by Allison Crowson, MJA

Allison Crowson is the program manager for the Norwich Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and Master of Science in Criminal Justice programs. An adjunct faculty member and academic advisor in Norwich’s criminal justice department since 2006, she teaches courses on criminology, victimology, introduction to the criminal justice system and the police. She earned a master’s degree in justice administration from Norwich University and a BA in transpersonal psychology from Burlington College.