11 Highest-Paying Law Enforcement Jobs

Whether you’ve been in law enforcement for many years or are considering a new career, finding jobs offering excellent pay is essential.

Many positions within law enforcement pay well, some involving related industries and others that are direct police work.

Police officers

Finding a high-paying job typically relates to moving up into a leadership position.

This means you must work at the lower levels to advance.

In any case, it’s important to know the potential within the field, especially for those looking for a career in law enforcement.

Keep reading to learn more about the highest-paying law enforcement jobs!

List of Jobs for Law Enforcement

Below are some of the highest-paying law enforcement positions for your consideration, including:

1. Security Manager

At the top of the list of highest-paying law enforcement jobs is a security manager, who makes an average of $62,000 annually.

These private law enforcement professionals are tasked with protecting assets.

These could be organizational, personal, or corporate assets and work as private hired security.

Some security managers also oversee the entire insurance operations of a business or company when hired at a specific location.

They may also administer security details for influential individuals, such as company CEOs or political leaders.

Security managers work with companies and organizations to create strategies and implement tactics to ensure all officers and guards have effective duties during their security period.

Additionally, these experts could meet with managers, senior leaders, and other employees to ensure the staff remains secure.

2. Forensic Accountant

A forensic accountant utilizes financial data to track and find monetary spending.

These law enforcement professionals are typically involved in financial cases surrounding fraud.

They know how to translate information from a report to lawyers or clients and write reports based on the financial facts of a case.

Forensic accountants must also maintain ethical and accurate bookkeeping processes, are active members in court cases, and create statements and reports for attorneys to utilize during investigations.

Forensic accountants pull in an average of $65,300 annually.

3. Police Officers

Police officers are typically the first line of defense in the law enforcement hierarchy and are the most publicly engaging positions.

Numerous police jobs exist, including special jurisdiction officers, fishing and game wardens, deputy sheriffs, state troopers, and local officers.

Duties include investigating criminal incidences, providing first aid, responding to calls and complaints, patrolling neighborhoods, and writing tickets and incident reports.

The average national salary for a police officer is $67,600 per year, which equals $32.50 per hour.

4. Police Sergeant

Police sergeants are law enforcement officers who oversee agents and patrol officers within their jurisdictions.

These law enforcement professionals evaluate employee performance when apprehending suspects or enforcing disciplinary actions.

Police sergeants must also regularly train and assist officers with performance reviews and counseling.

Other responsibilities include developing, managing, and planning training programs and implementing traffic and pedestrian control services to help in ceremonies, events, or emergencies to encourage crowd control.

The average annual salary for a police sergeant is $72,500.

5. ATF Special Agents

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives or ATF employs highly skilled and trained special agents who must combat and investigate crimes related to each of these categories, including terrorist threats, arson, and smuggling operations.

To become an ATF special agent, candidates must complete a rigorous training process that requires extensive travel, high exposure risk, and long hours.

As a result of this commitment and these dangerous activities, ATF special agents make an average annual salary of $78,700.

6. Forensic Analyst

Forensic analysts are evidence-collection specialists who attempt to determine the cause and other related details at a crime scene.

They collect and analyze DNA at the crime scene, gather evidence, and confirm theories to help convict criminals.

Within the forensics departments is quality assurance and a chain of command regarding crime scene analysis and findings.

Forensic analysts also utilize different instruments in the field and tools in a laboratory to confirm pieces of evidence.

Chemical agents have been a significant breakthrough in forensics in the past few decades to allow these law enforcement professionals to uncover surface features, VINs, serial numbers, and other hidden information. Forensic analysts make an average annual salary of $82,400.

7. Detective

Detectives are law enforcement professionals who discover and research evidence to solve crimes.

They investigate criminal activity, act as immediate responders for arrest warrants, and manage other related activities.

Detectives collect crime scene evidence to build a case and arrest the responsible party, and attorneys use it in court to prosecute the criminal.

Detectives often interact with other law enforcement professionals, including emergency personnel, lieutenants, private investigators, and police officers.

Given the complexity of their job, detectives make an average of $86,100 annually.

8. Border Patrol Agent

A border patrol agent works in daytime or nighttime shifts to secure borders between points of entry from another country.

These could be coastal points for boats and water-based vehicles or land points for those attempting to sneak across the border.

These agents often assist border protection companies to add security, but many work for the U.S. government.

Since this is a highly dangerous job, border patrol agents have a handsome national average salary of $90,300 annually since plenty of illegal activity occurs.

9. Criminal Psychologist

Becoming a criminal psychologist requires a doctorate in psychology, which means an extensive educational commitment is required.

The financial and time cost of earning this education pays off with a national average salary of $95,400 annually.

Criminal psychologists study individuals’ social, cognitive, and emotional processes by observing how they relate to and act around each other.

This position can work in various environments, including police buildings, prisons, detention centers, and other locations where criminal clients are held.

Psychologists can also be part of the criminal justice system, working as general psychologists to help criminals target more acceptable behaviors.

10. Chief of Police

Becoming the chief of police is not a position you immediately jump into at the beginning of your law enforcement career; it takes years of rising through the ranks.

As the highest chain of command within a police department, the chief of police evaluates plans, supervises, and coordinates all operations within the local police force.

They can also enforce, develop, plan, and manage training programs for law enforcement personnel.

The chief is also the senior leadership in combat objectives and emergencies and can become involved in ongoing investigations.

The national average salary for a chief of police is $96,000 annually.

11. Secret Service Agents

Secret Service Agents are a special criminal justice agency tasked with protecting current and former U.S. presidents and safeguarding the national treasury from attacks, robberies, and other criminal activities.

These agents have extensive experience in other law enforcement agencies and receive additional training on procedures for almost every emergency imaginable.

Given the nature of the work, these positions are highly competitive, only accepting the best of the best.

Since this can be an incredibly dangerous and complicated career, the average annual salary starts at $100,000 and increases based on experience.

5 Tips When Looking for a Law Enforcement Job

The benefits that attracted previous generations to law enforcement jobs may not necessarily apply to current recruits with different expectations and plenty of other employment options in the expanding job market.

However, tried-and-true practices and new tips can pay when searching for a law enforcement job.

These include the following:

Brush Up on your Legal Knowledge

Law enforcement professionals must always be alert and able to make split-second decisions, which could be the difference between life and death.

This requires a certain level of confidence and decisiveness that derives from solid legal knowledge.

That means that being properly educated and understanding the implications and nuances of the law will help aspiring law enforcement mavens make faster and better decisions in stressful situations, which helps protect them, the community, and the individuals involved.

Knowing the necessary legal knowledge to start your career and remaining updated on changes to the law, including through the use of new technologies, will be helpful to themselves, the department, and those around them.

Continuously Develop and Learn

Technology is changing rapidly, so the law enforcement environment regularly evolves considerably in how officers interact and operate in the community.

Therefore, when searching for a law enforcement position, it’s critical to remain updated on the latest technologies and continue to develop throughout your career, especially when looking to move into a leadership position.

A bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a related field will go a long way, but a master’s degree makes a considerable difference.

Many law enforcement departments face a leadership challenge and desperately need professionals who can excel across multiple disciplines and have diverse skill sets, all of which come with higher education.

A reputable master’s degree program teaches exceptional communication skills, budgetary and financial acumen, legal awareness, critical thinking strategies, and analytical skills that departments require.

Emphasize Integrity, Honest, and Ethics

With great power comes great responsibility, which is entirely true for law enforcement personnel who must ethically use their power according to the law.

With law enforcement coming under significant scrutiny in recent years, having and enacting integrity is paramount.

Lack of integrity has created the most widespread mistrust of law enforcement officials, so it is critical to uphold these values for effective policing.

Officers who abide by the highest integrity standards and the strictest ethics will find the field incredibly rewarding, which will help build a lasting law enforcement career.

Refine your Writing Skills

Law enforcement professionals are required to do a significant amount of writing.

From incident, crime, and arrest reports to evidence collection and clearance reports, law enforcement personnel must document all situations they are involved in daily.

Since these reports are seen by commanding officers and utilized in court as evidence, they must be accurate, professional, well-written, and clearly state the facts.

Poorly written reports could negatively impact a court case, resulting in insufficient information to convict a guilty party or a wrongful conviction and giving a bad first impression.

In addition to learning more about the law, ethics, and procedures, law enforcement and criminal justice training and degree programs heavily emphasize written communication development.

Those who are effective written communicators can quickly advance to more senior leadership positions within the law enforcement field.

Show Compassion

Law enforcement is a challenging field that deals with countless difficult situations, and personnel regularly witness some of the worst aspects of society.

Therefore, showing compassion to an everyday human being can be difficult.

However, compassion is needed when managing many challenging situations.

Therefore, showing compassion to the interviewer is important during the interview process since it takes a well-rounded individual to become a law enforcement professional and show them the other side of your emotional intelligence.

Officers who carry compassion daily also go above and beyond without needing recognition and can create trust within the community.

Chelsea Wilson

About Chelsea Wilson

Chelsea Wilson is the Community Relations Manager for Washington University School of Law’s distance learning LLM degree program, which provides foreign trained attorneys with the opportunity to earn a Master of Laws degree from a top-tier American university from anywhere in the world.

4 Responses to 11 Highest-Paying Law Enforcement Jobs

  1. Avatar
    Marilyn Rivera #

    These high-paying roles are a reminder of the importance of law enforcement in our society and the need to attract and retain top talent in these critical positions.

  2. Avatar
    Myles Horn #

    It offers a wide range of career paths, allowing individuals to find a role that aligns with their interests and financial goals.

  3. Avatar
    Ledger Lyons #

    Earning a substantial income can be a testament to the dedication and hard work these individuals put into their often demanding roles.

  4. Avatar
    Jade Bailey #

    It’s fascinating to see the variety of high-paying law enforcement careers. These professionals play a crucial role in maintaining safety and order in our communities.

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