Law enforcement careers in Georgia include those at the state level with the Georgia State Patrol and the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, as well as at the county level with Sheriff’s Departments specific to all counties. Most of Georgia’s many municipalities support an independent police force, including many small incorporated cities, and of course the state’s major metro areas in and around Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Macon and Savannah.
Jobs with the Georgia State Patrol
The Georgia State Patrol was created to combat crimes across the state in response to a growing need for law enforcement, as well as the management of fatal traffic accidents. Trooper school is usually 32 weeks in length and after completion graduates will be placed where needed at locations throughout the state. Trooper school poses many demands to the prospective graduate including coursework, physical training, long hours, as well as driver, firearms, and crash investigation training. Promotions follow a path starting at the Cadet level and continue through Trooper First Class 2.
Jobs with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation provides scientific, investigative, and information resources and services to the criminal justice community and others to protect life and property and maintain law and order. The GBI offers exciting and interesting employment positions in a variety of technical, scientific, investigative, and administrative career fields.
To be considered for employment, applicants may be required to complete a written test depending on the selected position, and consideration will otherwise be based on the applicant’s experience, training, and education. At the end of 2012 there were a total of 72 vacant positions at the GBI and monthly seizures usually total over half a million dollars.
Jobs with Sheriff’s Departments in Georgia
Country sheriff’s deputies are key to fighting crime in the many unincorporated rural enclaves in Georgia without local police departments. These are among Georgia’s most populated counties, where deputy sheriff jobs are vital to keeping the peace, upholding laws and protecting personal property:
- Fulton County: The first African American female sheriff in the United States was Jacquelyn Barrett who served from 1993-2004. Recently a $59 million project was approved for renovation of the Rice Street county jail.
- DeKalb County: Protecting property, life, and the preservation of public peace are the DeKalb County Sheriff Department’s responsibilities. Application process includes a background check, panel review board appearance, and a medical examination.
- Muscogee County: Sheriffs act as law enforcement officers and also officers of the court where they provide physical security in the courtrooms and building, serving as bailiff to the Superior Court. Positions are currently available for men and women 21 years of age and older who have a high level of commitment and dedication to the community.
- Chatham County: This department executes the orders of the court, protects the judiciary, supports law enforcement partners, and provides for the control, custody, and care of incarcerated inmates. Training includes everything from chemical weapons situations to ethics and professionalism.
Jobs with Municipal Police Departments in Georgia
Police training for law enforcement jobs in Georgia’s major cities supports jobs with the state’s largest and most well funded police departments:
- Atlanta PD: The Atlanta PD is involved in criminal investigations, uniformed patrols, around-the-clock emergency police response, citizen advisory councils, neighborhood planning units, numerous small community projects, and foot and bicycle patrols.
- Augusta PD: Maintains peace and order, provides court services, investigates crimes, and enforces local, state, and federal laws.
- Columbus PD: General application requirements include not having a criminal background and not having been a moderate illegal drug user. The entire application process may take more than 90 days.
- Macon PD: Applicants must complete a variety of ability and assessment tests. Training includes weapons and driving. Applicants must have a general record free from multiple traffic violations and situations of drug use.
- Savannah PD: Prospective officers must have a relatively clean background and driving history, be honest and reliable, currently not use any illegal drugs, and have a mostly drug-free history.
Georgia Law Enforcement Salaries
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-2013 Edition, the median Georgia law enforcement salaries in 2010 were:
- Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers: $37,440
- Detectives and Criminal Investigators: $45,600
- Supervisors of Police and Detectives: $52,620
Salaries among Detectives and Criminal Investigators across Georgia
Police Officer and Sheriff Salary in Georgia
The average police officer and sheriff salary in Georgia varies at the municipal level. For example, the salary structure for police officers working for the Atlanta Police Department is as follows:
- Police Recruit (initial assignment and academy training): $34,726.36
- Police Officer with high school diploma/GED: $39,327.60, top salary $53,599.49
- Police Officer with associate’s degree: $40,704.07, top salary $55,475.47
- Police Officer with bachelor’s degree: $42,128.71, top salary $57,417.11
At the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office, the deputy sheriff is paid a starting salary of $27,970.90 if not certified and $30,253.33 if certified.
Here are some other Georgia law enforcement salaries:
- Canton Police Department – Assistant Chief: $74,000
- Kingsland Police Department – Certified Police Officer: $33,250
- Lilburn Police Department – Police Captain: $52,451 to $78,677
Salaries among Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers across Georgia
State Trooper Salary in Georgia
According to the Georgia Department of Public Safety, the starting state trooper salary in Georgia is $32,418 for those employed as cadets prior to Trooper Academy. While in trooper school, the salary is $34,038. Upon graduation, the salary increases to $35,741. The pay scale then increases as follows:
- Trooper First Class (after 18 months as a state trooper): $40,494
- Trooper First Class, in grade (after 3 years as Trooper First Class): $44,544
- Trooper First Class 2 (after 6 years as Trooper First Class): $48,564
Salaries among Police Supervisors and Detectives across Georgia