By Trey Rusk
The news will have you think that law enforcement officers are being killed by the bushel basket. They are being killed, but in reality the occupation is ranked 18 as far as being hazardous by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2017. Of course, if one officer is murdered, it's too many.
I worked as a police officer for 42 years. My first retirement was at 50 years of age with full benefits. My wife and I traveled for a year. I soon went back to work and put in 11 additional years from another department and retired again at 63. Now folks, I started with minimal college, a local police academy and then yearly in-service training as required by the state.
The reason I bring this up, is because people think that you need a college degree to succeed. That's like saying you need Algebra 2 to make it through life. The average salary for a police officer, not counting being promoted, or any overtime is $62,000 annually. Side work for police officers usually pays $35 to $40 an hour with most working 8 to 16 hours of side jobs a week.
What about the danger? It depends on where you work. If you work in the hood for a large municipal department it would stand to reason that you would see more crime. However, large departments don't necessarily pay the most. Medium size suburban cities are now paying top dollar and have good benefits plus bonuses for new hires. Most even offer money for higher education that is paid back through time served.
More money, more benefits and less crime = less danger.
What happened? It turns out a lot of large cities through poor investments and popular retirement incentives could not sustain the benefits. That means cutting benefits. The small to medium cities were mostly on a state municipal retirement plan and they could not manipulate the money. In the long run they have come out ahead.
I have a friend who graduated with a PhD and works for the same university where she attended graduate school. She is up to her ears in educational loans and will not be able to retire until she is over 70. Her current salary is $55,000 per year plus benefits. As I have stated, I'm not an overly educated person, but even I know that she has made a poor investment for the return.
Here are the top 25 dangerous jobs in the U.S.:
It turns out that police officers are not even in the top 10. What makes police jobs hard to fill is that many that are killed die a violent death.
That's the way I see it.