When you’re discussing pay raises or additional benefits, it might help to have demonstrable data.
Sponsored by 5.11 Inc., the 2020 Officer Media Group Salary Survey Summary comprised of about 22 questions of our readership. The full report runs 10 pages, to save you from data overload, here are some highlights.
One of the questions identified rank/position. Bear in mind that this was not just a survey for 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 48% of our survey respondents held the rank of sergeant on up through major. Those who identified as executive or command staff accounted for another 14% of the responses while detectives/investigators/inspectors made up another 9%. Combined, those groups represent roughly 2/3 of our respondents. Keep that in mind as you read the remainder of the following.
When asked what described the respondent’s type of agency, just over 56% 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 8.6% and “Other” contributing 13.4%.
For agency size, approximately half were 100 or more employees. The other half (48.9% versus 51.1%) 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, 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. Quite surprisingly, 25.4% report being paid between $100K to $150K. 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. While the largest majority saw the cost of living increase, 2.4% saw salary decreases and some of those decreases were more than 15% of their total salary.