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5.10.22 – Gulf Live- WASHINGTON, D.C.

Looking towards a career in law enforcement? According to a new study, Mississippi isn’t the place.

Offering the lowest median income among the 50 states and District of Columbia and 50th in opportunity for law enforcement officers, a study released by WalletHub ranks Mississippi as the fifth-worst place for law enforcement officers in the U.S. For the study, “law enforcement officers” included state and local police, sheriff’s officers, and detectives and criminal investigators.

Examining 30 relevant metrics divided into three major categories, the study shows Mississippi ranking 41st or lower in five of the categories and in no category did the state rank in the top five.

Within the three major categories, Mississippi ranked 50th in “Opportunity & Competition,” which examined factors including pay, income growth, officers employed per capita and projected law enforcement jobs by 2028.

In “Job Hazards & Protections,” the state ranked 47th after examining metrics including police deaths per 1,000 officers, share of law enforcement officers assaulted, and violent crime rate.

Mississippi scored best in “Law Enforcement Training,” earning a ranking of 37th after examining data including hours of training required, certifications, and continued professional education requirements.

Among the sub-categories, Mississippi ranked:

  • 51st in median income for law enforcement (adjusted for cost of living)
  • 46th in median income growth for law enforcement
  • 41st in percentage of homicide cases solved
  • 45th in state & local police protection expenses per capita
  • 45th in police deaths per 1,000 officers

Mississippi’s median income for law enforcment of $52,600 is well below the national median income of $66,020 and even below the national median of $53,490 for all jobs.

Illinois offered the highest pay for law enforcement, while the other four states joining Mississippi at the bottom of the rankings were from the south: North Carolina, Louisiana, South Carolina and Arkansas.

Data for the study came from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Projections Central State Occupational Projections, Council for Community and Economic Research, Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Urban Institute, Institute for American Police Reform, The Officer Down Memorial Page, Mapping Police Violence, Murder Accountability Project, Ballotpedia, The National 911 Program, North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition, National Conference of State Legislatures, National Blue Alert System, Institute of Criminal Justice Training Reform, AP News and the Center for the Study of Occupational Regulation.

The study can be read in its entirety here.