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Old 06-18-2014, 01:41 PM
 
Location: Charlotte, NC
226 posts, read 264,514 times
Reputation: 203

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gvsteve, benefits are okay for police within the state system. They aren't fantastic, and they aren't bad. I am a public school teacher and have state benefits so I can speak about that confidently. Believe me, it is appreciated because they are relatively low cost and we have health insurance while many people don't, but they could be better especially for newer hires (very high deductibles).
Retirement, I'm not sure on. I *think* that LEOs have their own state retirement separate from other state employees. If anyone knows I am wrong, please feel free to correct me though because I am not 100% sure on that. My retirement as a teacher is 28 years/full pension which is great.
Now, what I'm about to say could be correct or incorrect depending on your municipality BUT I will speak from what I do know. I worked for a local city government for several years prior to teaching, and have many friends who are LEOs.
If you are what was called an 'old timer' meaning not that you are old but that you've had several years of service, you will have experienced some decent pay increases over the years in addition to cost of living increases up until around 2008. After the economic collapse of 2008 however, the increases stopped. There were years that 1-2% cost of living increases were given, and years no increase at all were given. From what I understand, even though I left the government position that I was in a while ago now, they still are not having any other increases over cost of living. Now, the COUNTY (I worked for the city) has just approved an across the board 10% increase for all full time employees. But the county had frozen all pay for all employees since 2008 I believe.
Anyway. So, very few opportunities for increases and very small increases is my point. If you were hired on in 2009 at 27k, and received only 1% increases for cost of living each year...that would bring your pay up to a bit over 28k in 6 years.
On top of that, think about that fact that they go to work in dangerous situations. I have many friends who have been shot at, and over the past 4 years know two police who were KIA for that same department.
Yes, generally the job is secure as far as a lack of lay offs and that sort of thing. And yes, we will always need police so there will always be a demand for LEOs.
Car use - yes, many people are allowed to bring home the patrol car but it is ONLY for getting to work, from work, and going on calls. If you are caught using the car while you are off duty you will be in some BIG trouble.

For the record, I can only speak about what I know and I only know specifics in area of the state. So, other places may be different as far as raises, security, the vehicle, etc. Just keep that in mind.
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Old 06-18-2014, 04:54 PM
 
Location: FLORIDA
8,964 posts, read 5,698,722 times
Reputation: 3355
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRCainJr View Post
I feel sometimes that we as a profession in police, fire and EMS should never use the phrase, "We do the job because we love it and not for the pay." I do believe someone took us to task and said okay then we will keep you pay low. I am a Paramedic going into my 27th year. I have worked my share of overtime in order to keep the family sheltered, fed and clothed. I feel the most sorry for the fire and police people that I work with everyday. Most police officers I know are working two and sometimes three side jobs just to bring in enough for their families. The fire service is no different, I have heard fire fighters tell me that they work their side job or business fulltime hours most days off from the fire department. Luckily for me, I started a part time business that is going to allow me the freedom to step away from my profession and make more money helping others than I will ever make in my current position and without working all those overtime hours.

I feel bad for them in SC/NC too. I have family in Fire/EMS here in FL where pay is pretty darn good, even up to 6 figs if you're a dual role (FF/Medic) in the big metro areas. I thought about it and got to the interview process with Asheville Fire, but then at $28k and MAYBE in the $40k's after 10-12 yrs which is what it'd take to move up the ladder. Couldn't afford it. Wanted to, tried to justify it, but when your bro-in-law is in FL as a Fire Medic makig over $100k a yr, and you know you MIGHT make in the $40s or MAYBE up to $65k range AS A CAPTAIN, it makes it less appealing. I moved back to FL etc. but I did go thru the process with Asheville Fire. The pay for that area and the Upstate for Fire/EMS/Police is just not fair. Work 48-56 hrs a week to make $30k and then have to work extra jobs and part-time jobs, just to make, what $45k or $50k. Nah. No thanks. If AVL Fire had a FL payscale, I may have stuck it out.
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Old 06-18-2014, 04:57 PM
 
1,116 posts, read 1,183,473 times
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i think they can supplement the pay by being traffic cop on the weekends and stuff.

Plus, that's just starting. Won't it go up after a year or so?

Plus, everybody calls you sir.

I don't remember the last cop killed around here. Maybe that highway patrolman in the 90s?
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Old 06-18-2014, 05:02 PM
 
Location: FLORIDA
8,964 posts, read 5,698,722 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gvsteve View Post
They are not paid enough. But other things to consider:

1. Benefits - Aren't they pretty good for police officers?
2. $27k is the starting pay. Where does it go from there?
3. Job security/stability.
4. Do you get use of a car along with that salary? I know at least one police officer who drives his police car home each day.
I'm not sure for a cop, but I'm almost positive that for GVL Fire Dept, you max out in the high $40k's, unless you're a captain etc and then it goes to $60-65k range.

Benefits are decent, but again, not great compared to other areas, even in the Southeast. They max out at around 52-55% after 30 yrs. So if you do the math, lets say after 30 yrs you retire at $45k, you're gonna earn roughly $1,900-2,000 a month in retirement yrs. For example, in large metro areas up north and in the state of FL, you get 90% after 30 yrs. So my bro-in-law who is a Firefighter/medic in FL, if he retires after 30 yrs at say, $125k a yr, after he retires he'll collect roughly $9,375 a month in retirement yrs.
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Old 06-18-2014, 08:55 PM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
28,398 posts, read 50,602,810 times
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Supply and demand, and cost of living in the area. that $27k is not that unusual in low cost of living areas where a lot of people are out of work and willing to work for that. San Diego ranks #25 in the highest starting pay for city police at $48,480, #1 is Austin Texas at $52,374. Most have great benefits, and a lot of overtime pay.

Here in Seattle it's $47,340 to start but many make well over $100k with the overtime.
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Old 06-18-2014, 09:40 PM
 
2,049 posts, read 1,833,749 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hemlock140 View Post
Supply and demand, and cost of living in the area. that $27k is not that unusual in low cost of living areas where a lot of people are out of work and willing to work for that. San Diego ranks #25 in the highest starting pay for city police at $48,480, #1 is Austin Texas at $52,374. Most have great benefits, and a lot of overtime pay.

Here in Seattle it's $47,340 to start but many make well over $100k with the overtime.
How much does the average house cost in San Diego and Seattle? The 27k base here is absurdly low but $49k in San Diego isn't enough to cover the cost of living, either.
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Old 06-19-2014, 09:26 AM
 
Location: Arlington, TX
372 posts, read 277,501 times
Reputation: 589
Bottom line is I'm not risking my life for 27k, no matter how good the benefits are lol
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Old 06-19-2014, 09:37 AM
 
Location: North Augusta, SC
723 posts, read 1,076,008 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwarfield View Post
Not any better where I'm from in Aiken. The starting pay is about the same for a county that is literally the size of the state of Rhode Island. The Sheriff is trying very hard down there now to get a large pay increase for all of the deputies.
And the County and City Councils can't seem to understand why there is so much turnover.....................
Aiken County Deputy pay starts at 31,700.
Detention Officers start at 26,900.
Aiken Public Safety starts at 35,400.
North Augusta Public Safety starts at 41,700.
While still not great, certainly better than Spartanburg.
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Old 06-19-2014, 02:26 PM
 
1,912 posts, read 1,926,166 times
Reputation: 864
Quote:
Originally Posted by gvsteve View Post
They are not paid enough. But other things to consider:

1. Benefits - Aren't they pretty good for police officers?
2. $27k is the starting pay. Where does it go from there?
3. Job security/stability.
4. Do you get use of a car along with that salary? I know at least one police officer who drives his police car home each day.
Traditionally, benefits have been great. BUT, that is changing, and quickly. As healthcare costs rise, governments (especially conservative ones) are slashing a lot of the funds towards benefits, and in a right work state, there is no union, so they can cut it as much as they want, anytime they want.

Pay does go up, usually by %, but not much. They released public numbers. The highest ranked officers were making in the low 50's, and that's only about 10% of the department, as most are lower ranking in a pyramid structure of command.

Job security...yes. This is very solid. Partly because so few people WANT that job, and once in it, so few STAY in it. The SC Police Academy numbers stated that upon graduation from the academy, 50% of all new cops...wont be cops within 5 years anymore.


The car- same as healthcare. They've always allowed "take home" cars, and some even drive it on days off. That's a trend that is going away. Many Lowcountry agencies have already restricted that to save money on gas.

Cops and firemen are taking a fiscal beating, and they weren't in a very strong position before hand anyway.
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Old 06-19-2014, 02:31 PM
 
1,912 posts, read 1,926,166 times
Reputation: 864
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiger17 View Post
Aiken County Deputy pay starts at 31,700.
Detention Officers start at 26,900.
Aiken Public Safety starts at 35,400.
North Augusta Public Safety starts at 41,700.
While still not great, certainly better than Spartanburg.
Mount Pleasant and North Charleston both start cops at $38,500 (education pending)
The City of Charleston.....$43,000 with a bachelors; Up to $46,000 with a masters.

Also not great. But not too bad. I know Charleston's cost of living is a bit more than Spartanburgs...but is it nearly double? No.
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