Law Enforcement Careers in Tennessee

In 2010, Tennessee had one of the highest rates of violent crime in the country.  U.S. citizens who wish to fight this trend by seeking law enforcement careers in Tennessee have a number of options.

In addition to seeking jobs as State Troopers in Tennessee, there are numerous opportunities to obtain jobs as Deputy Sheriffs or municipal Police Officers in the state.

Jobs with the Tennessee Highway Patrol

Troopers of the Tennessee State Highway Patrol issued over 337,000 citations in 2008.  Despite their efforts, there were over 1000 traffic fatalities in Tennessee in 2012.  The department has received grant funding to fund increased enforcement of commercial vehicles.

In addition to enforcing traffic laws, investigating crashes, and assisting motorists, the Tennessee Highway Patrol has a Special Operations Unit to handle specialized situations.  It includes an Aviations Section, a Tactical/Bomb Squad, a K-9 Unit, and a task force to eradicate marijuana.

Residents of the state who seek jobs as State Troopers in Tennessee must be 21 and have a high school diploma or a GED.  Applicants must also have completed a training class at the Department of Safety Training Center in Nashville.  They must have vision of at least 20/100 in each eye without glasses and 20/30 upon correction.  Applicants undergo physical and psychological testing and must pass a background check.  Read more information about becoming a State Trooper in Tennessee.

Jobs with Sheriff’s Departments in Tennessee

The 95 counties in Tennessee provide a number of opportunities for residents of the state to obtain jobs as Sheriff’s Deputies or Correction’s Officer.

 

Davidson County:  The Deputies of the Davidson County Sheriff’s Department manage all the county jails and process and serve civil warrants.  To obtain jobs as Sheriff’s Deputies in Delaware County, applicants must be 21 years old and have a high school diploma or GED.  Applications must be submitted by e-mail.

Knox County:  The Knox County Sheriff’s Office is the largest law enforcement agency in the Eastern part of the state and employs 475 sworn officers.  Those seeking jobs as Sheriff’s’ Deputies in Knox County must have a school diploma or GED.

Rutherford County:  The Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office employs approximately 178 sworn officers.  Sheriff’s Deputies in Rutherford County are involved with law enforcement, the detention of adults, and the courts.  In 2010, the sheriff’s office received over 65,000 911 emergency calls.  Those seeking jobs as Sheriff’s Deputies in Rutherford County should obtain an application and demographic information form from the Rutherford County Human Resources department.

Jobs with Municipal Police Departments in Tennessee

Residents of the state who seek jobs as Police Officers in Tennessee have a variety of municipal departments to choose from.

Clarksville:  Although Clarksville has a high crime rate for a city of its size, this rate is low compared to other cities in Tennessee.  The Clarksville Police Department combats crime and had 260 sworn officers in 2012.  U.S. citizens who seek jobs as Police Officers in Clarksville must be 21 years old and possess a high school diploma or GED.

Chattanooga:  Chattanooga has one of the highest crime rates in the U.S.  Those who wish to fight crime in Chattanooga by obtaining jobs as Police Officers in Chattanooga must be 21-39 years old at the time of hire and have at least a high school diploma or GED.

Knoxville:  The city of Knoxville has one of the highest rates of crime of any city in Tennessee.  Those who seek jobs as Police Officers in Knoxville should contact the department.

Memphis:  The crime rate in Memphis is one of the highest in the country.  To fight this, the Memphis Police Department employs over 1600 Police Officers.  To seek jobs as a Police Officer in Memphis, applicants must have at least 54 semester hours or two years of military service or three years of employment as a law enforcement officer.

Murfreesboro:  Murfreesboro has a high rate of crime.  This is combated by the efforts of the Murfreesboro Police Department who practice community oriented policing.  Those who seek jobs as a Police Officer in Murfreesboro must submit an application on-line when a job is being advertised.

Nashville:  The crime rate in Nashville is one of the highest in the U.S.  The members of the Nashville Police Department fight crime in Nashville and throughout Davidson County.  Those who seek jobs as a Police Officer in Nashville must be 21 years old and have 60 hours of college credit with a 2.0 average or have a high school diploma or GED in combination with two years of military duty or law enforcement experience.  Citizens with five years of full time responsible work experience will be considered.

Tennessee Law Enforcement Salaries

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-2013 Edition, an occupational guide compiled by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, these were the median Tennessee law enforcement salaries in 2010:

  • Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers: $40,660
  • Supervisors of Police and Detectives: $55,140
  • Detectives and Criminal Investigators: $48,210

Detectives and Criminal Investigators Salaries throughout Tennessee

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Chattanooga TN-GA
140
56760
Clarksville TN-KY
30
54160
Jackson TN
50
59660
Johnson City TN
60
Estimate Not Released
Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol TN-VA
100
55090
Knoxville TN
170
72510
Memphis TN-MS-AR
320
64240
Morristown TN
50
46630
Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin TN
460
72900
Western Tennessee nonmetropolitan area
80
48410
South Central Tennessee nonmetropolitan area
110
44860
North Central Tennessee nonmetropolitan area
80
40840
Eastern Tennessee nonmetropolitan area
90
52740

Police Officer and Sheriff Salary in Tennessee

The average police officer salary in Tennessee is different in each locality. As an example, the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department offers the following salary benefits to its officers:

  • Police Officer Trainee: $35,576.32
  • Police Officer I: $39,532.48
  • Police Officer I plus 3% education incentive: $40,718.45
  • Police Officer I plus 6% education incentive: $41,904.43
  • Police Officer II: $43,786.08
  • Police Officer II plus 3% education incentive: $45,099.66
  • Police Officer II plus 6% education incentive: $46,413.24

Here is a look at the salary package for police officers at the Memphis Police Department:

  • Police Recruit: $36,218
  • Police Officer II-P (1-year probation): $38,753.26
  • Police Officer
    • 1-2 years: $43,083.56
    • 2-3 years: $46,334.08
    • 3+ years: $51,098.32
  • Police Officer Lateral
    • 12 weeks of training and 1 year: $43,083.56
    • 2-3 years: $46,334.08
    • 3+ years: $51,098.32

Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers Salaries throughout Tennessee

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Chattanooga TN-GA
1020
37260
Clarksville TN-KY
410
39730
Cleveland TN
Estimate Not Released
35360
Jackson TN
380
39570
Johnson City TN
410
35410
Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol TN-VA
460
39060
Knoxville TN
1330
38840
Memphis TN-MS-AR
3840
46970
Morristown TN
310
32470
Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin TN
3000
45350
Western Tennessee nonmetropolitan area
730
34180
South Central Tennessee nonmetropolitan area
740
33120
North Central Tennessee nonmetropolitan area
720
36100
Eastern Tennessee nonmetropolitan area
770
34610

State Trooper Salary in Tennessee

In Tennessee, the median state trooper salary is around $30,390, while those in the top ten percent earn nearly $57,000 per year.

Police Supervisors and Detectives Salaries throughout Tennessee

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Chattanooga TN-GA
210
57770
Clarksville TN-KY
60
53800
Jackson TN
120
53110
Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol TN-VA
50
63800
Knoxville TN
80
78130
Memphis TN-MS-AR
210
65420
Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin TN
360
65610
Western Tennessee nonmetropolitan area
150
44570
South Central Tennessee nonmetropolitan area
130
48210
North Central Tennessee nonmetropolitan area
170
54170
Eastern Tennessee nonmetropolitan area
130
51450

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