Detective Lieutenant Barry M. Baker (ret.) is a 32 year veteran of the Baltimore Police Department.
Police salary and benefits, as a practical matter, should be your first consideration when choosing a police department to pursue your career. Here’s the good news – police officers are receiving better pay and benefits than ever before. More good news – there aren’t too many other professions with better starting salaries.
There really isn’t any bad news, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look closely at everything a police department has to offer you. If you’re in that early twenty something group, you’re not worrying about things like medical coverage, longevity pay, and retirement — I know I didn’t.
Retire After Twenty Years
It’s really pretty difficult to look twenty years ahead, but it will pass a lot quicker than you think. Many police departments now offer retirement at twenty years at 50% of your pay. Use your police salary and benefits to prepare and plan for the future.
Look around and see how many people you know who can retire after twenty years with a similar pension. You won’t find many. Furthermore, private industry is getting out of the pension business in favor of the 401k’s. You now have the opportunity to supplement your police salary and benefits with a number of different deferred compensation plans.
As good as the retirement sounds, you won’t likely be ready to retire at twenty years. Half of anything just isn’t as good as the whole thing; unless, you plan ahead. If, during your career, you start thinking about a second career, the twenty year retirement will be perfect. You may hear police say, “You’ll never get rich being a cop.” Well, it depends on what you mean by rich. The availability of deferred compensation makes it possible for you to do some serious financial planning.
Here's a list of things you should look for in your police salary and benefits package:
Police Salary and Benefits
Take Home Car
Sick Leave Accrual
Medical, Hospitalization and Dental Insurance
Vacation Leave Accrual
When it comes to police salary and benefits, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that some of highest paid departments are in California.
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