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Law Enforcement Careers in Washington

Police training for law enforcement jobs in Washington varies depending upon the law enforcement career one seeks in the state. Police officer jobs at the town and city level might require less training, while state police and trooper jobs require academy training.

Law enforcement careers in Washington may be lucrative, with trooper cadets making a starting salary of $38,256 per year, and state troopers making a base pay from $46,704 to $62,484 annually depending upon the length of time one has worked in the position.

Police Officer Jobs in Washington

Police officers work in Washington’s cities and towns. Police officer jobs in Washington’s largest municipal areas may be found in:

  • Bellevue Police Department
  • Tacoma Police Department
  • Seattle Police Department
  • Spokane City Police Department

Police officer jobs in Washington’s municipalities may include:

  • Chief law enforcement officer
  • Town marshal
  • Police chief
  • Police officer

The FBI reports that in 2011, the number of larceny-thefts, robberies and motor vehicle thefts in Seattle decreased from 2010’s numbers. Decreases were seen in the number of murders in Tacoma from 2010 to 2011, the number of aggravated assaults in Spokane, and the number of robberies in Bellevue.

Deputy Sheriff Jobs in Washington

Washington’s 39 counties each have independently elected Sheriffs. However, Deputy Sheriff jobs in Washington are not elected offices, meaning that anyone who is qualified may apply for these positions. Each Sheriff’s office has different responsibilities, meaning that some counties may operate a jail from the sheriff’s department, while other may operate 911 emergency services from the sheriff’s office.

 

The largest Washington counties with sheriffs’ departments are:

  • Spokane County – Spokane – fourth most populated county in the state as of 2007
  • King County – Seattle – largest county in the state as of 2007
  • Pierce County – Tacoma – second most populated county in the state as of 2007

Deputy Sheriff jobs in Washington counties may include:

  • Deputy sheriff

Qualifications for Becoming a Police Officer or Deputy Sheriff in Washington

While every county and city in Washington State may have its own requirements to obtain a police officer or deputy sheriff job, the following general qualifications usually apply:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Have a valid state driver’s license
  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Be able to read and write English
  • Have no record of felony convictions
  • Willing to relocate within county/municipality as required
  • Pass physical, written, psychological and polygraph tests
  • Pass background investigation

State Trooper Jobs With the Highway Patrol in Washington

There are approximately 600 state troopers currently working in Washington State. State trooper jobs with the highway patrol in Washington are responsible for keeping the entire state safe – not only its highways. State trooper jobs in Washington may be located in:

  • District 1: Tacoma
  • District 2: Bellevue
  • District 3: Yakima
  • District 4: Spokane
  • District 5: Vancouver
  • District 6: Wenatchee
  • District 7: Marysville
  • District 8: Bremerton

State trooper jobs with the highway patrol in Washington may include:

  • State trooper
  • Communications officer
  • Trooper cadet

Violent crimes in Washington in 2011 decreased by five percent from 2010’s statistics, according to the 2011 Crime in Washington report.

Qualifications for Becoming a State Trooper in Washington

  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Be 19.5 years of age or older when applying for job
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Pass medical, psychological, drug, background investigations and examinations
  • Pass physical fitness test
  • Have no felony convictions on record
  • Be willing to relocate to anywhere in the state as needed
  • Be willing to work long hours, rotating shifts, and weekends

General Hiring Practices for Law Enforcement Jobs in Washington

Under the rules of the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission, all new hires for Washington state trooper positions must complete at least 720 hours of basic training. Police agencies and county sheriff’s departments each have their own standards for training. Applicants to these law enforcement agencies are urged to contact the agency in question to learn its training requirements.

Washington Law Enforcement Salaries

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, as reported in its Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-2013 Edition, the median Washington law enforcement salaries in 2010 were:

  • Detectives and Criminal Investigators: $86,770
  • Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers: $67,340
  • Supervisors of Police and Detectives: $86,620

Detectives and Criminal Investigators Salaries in Washington

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Bremerton-Silverdale WA
Estimate Not Released
98840
Kennewick-Pasco-Richland WA
30
85880
Olympia WA
90
59390
Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro OR-WA
530
75870
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue WA
Estimate Not Released
93180
Tacoma WA Metropolitan Division
170
85730
Yakima WA
50
80680
Northwestern Washington nonmetropolitan area
50
81650
Southwestern Washington nonmetropolitan area
30
63880
Central Washington nonmetropolitan area
80
75050
Eastern Washington nonmetropolitan area
90
77970

Police Officer and Sheriff Salary in Washington

The Seattle Police Department offers newly recruited police officers a base salary of around $49,000. After the completion of training, police officers are paid as follows:

Time on the Job
Annual Salary
Annual Salary
New to Job
$64310
$74876
6 Months
$68946
$78592
18 Months
$72078
$84209

For lateral police officers, which are those with previous law enforcement experience, the salary schedule is as follows:

Time on the Job
Annual Salary
24-41 Mos Experience
$72078
42-53 Mos Experience
$74876
54+ Mos Experience
$78592

Deputy Sheriffs working for the King County Sheriff’s Department are paid on a 5-step system. The salary begins at $60,275 and ranges all the way up to $84,398.

Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers Salaries in Washington

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Bellingham WA
250
70450
Kennewick-Pasco-Richland WA
420
68960
Lewiston ID-WA
120
49070
Longview WA
100
63050
Mount Vernon-Anacortes WA
170
65120
Olympia WA
360
68020
Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro OR-WA
2490
62690
Seattle-Bellevue-Everett WA Metropolitan Division
3280
72860
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue WA
4150
71790
Spokane WA
490
63510
Tacoma WA Metropolitan Division
870
67720
Wenatchee-East Wenatchee WA
190
58360
Yakima WA
350
61300
Northwestern Washington nonmetropolitan area
250
59700
Southwestern Washington nonmetropolitan area
310
56180
Central Washington nonmetropolitan area
440
53350
Eastern Washington nonmetropolitan area
Estimate Not Released
49330

State Trooper Salary in Washington

The state trooper salary in Washington starts at $38,256 for Trooper Cadets. After Trooper Cadet Training, state troopers are paid as follows:

  • 0-.5 years: $46,704
  • 0.5-1.5 years: $49,500
  • 1.5-2.5 years: $52,464
  • 2.5-3.5 years: $55,596
  • 3.5-4.5 years: $58,956
  • 4.5+ years: $62,484

Police Supervisors and Detectives Salaries in Washington

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Bellingham WA
80
96760
Kennewick-Pasco-Richland WA
90
88950
Lewiston ID-WA
40
63830
Mount Vernon-Anacortes WA
30
83790
Olympia WA
130
85950
Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro OR-WA
650
89190
Seattle-Bellevue-Everett WA Metropolitan Division
770
96800
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue WA
980
95160
Tacoma WA Metropolitan Division
200
88950
Wenatchee-East Wenatchee WA
40
75630
Yakima WA
90
81200
Northwestern Washington nonmetropolitan area
80
76110
Southwestern Washington nonmetropolitan area
70
69320
Central Washington nonmetropolitan area
90
71900
Eastern Washington nonmetropolitan area
70
68660

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