The 10 best states to make a living as a police officer in 2017

By Megan Wells, PoliceOne Contributor

Each year, PoliceOne analyzes 50 states and Washington D.C. to determine which offers the best comprehensive wages for law enforcement officials.

After the 2016 edition was published, we received requests to include a deeper look at income and property taxes. We listened. And this year, we’ve added several new data points.


In short, we used a weighted average to compare:

Salary Cost of living Income tax Property taxes

A detailed breakdown of the methodology can be found at the end of this article.

Notable changes from 2016: Only four states from the 2016 list appear in 2017. Six of the 10 states to make this list don’t have an income tax. One state on this list sits below the national average wage for police officers, which is $57,129.

See if your state made the list.


We used a weighted system to measure the best states for police officers to make a living. The data points we measured are as follows:

Salary (35%) Using Bureau of Labor Statistics data we found the annual mean wage for patrol officers in each state. Cost of living (20%) We used the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center to rank each state’s cost of living. State income tax percentage (30%) We used the Tax Foundation to find max tax rates in each state. Data is valid as of July 2017. States with an * by them indication a flat income rate throughout the state. Property tax (15%) We used the Tax Foundation to find property taxes which are effective tax rates on owner-occupied homes.

The lack of consistent variables makes it difficult to include pension information in our write up. We do acknowledge long-lasting financial security paints a more robust picture of which states allow officers the best living.

Click for the full national ranking.