Law Enforcement Careers in Idaho

Law enforcement officials in Idaho all share a common goal of serving and protecting the public at large with professionalism and respect, and they have their work cut out for them. According to the Idaho State Police Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, crimes related to drug sales and possession were the most prevalent, representing more than 22,600 incidents in 2018 alone, up more than 10% from the year prior. While assaults were up also up year over year, with a 1.5% uptick in the number of incidents, there was good news when it came to property crimes, with larceny down nearly 8%, burglaries down more than 15% and motor vehicle theft down more than 11%. The number of murders also declined significantly between 2017 and 2018, down more than 23%.

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These are accomplishments that Idaho’s law enforcement community can be proud of, but they also know better than to rest on their laurels since enforcing the law is a job that is never done. From state police to county sheriff’s offices and local city police departments, the overreaching goal of Idaho’s law enforcement community is to protect life and property while maintaining order.

Idaho State Police

Law enforcement in Idaho begins at the state level. Founded in 1919 when it was known as the Bureau of Constabulary, the Idaho State Police works to maintain civil order and enforce state laws. Criminal investigations, forensic lab work, patrols, and cooperation with other law enforcement agencies are all in a day’s work for the law enforcement officers and other staff who work for the State Police.

Basic requirements for trooper candidates are a high school diploma or GED and a relatively clean background free of major traffic violations, drug use and criminal activity. State troopers may also pursue training for further specialization as a detective, commercial vehicle expert, executive protection officer, and many other positions.

Sheriff’s Departments in Idaho

From patrolling the roadways to providing jail and courtroom services, Idaho’s sheriff’s deputies are tasked with protecting the people of Idaho’s counties.

Ada County Sheriff’s Office

The Ada County Sheriff’s Office is responsible for nearly every law enforcement function, including patrolling the waterways and roads, issuing permits and licenses, and policing in the community.

The Ada County Sheriff’s Office, as the largest local law enforcement agency in Idaho, consisting of more than 740 employees, 325 of whom are commissioned deputies.

Sheriff’s deputy job candidates must not have smoked tobacco products within the past 11 months prior to applying and must have a two-year AA degree, an equivalent amount of law enforcement experience, or four consecutive years of full-time military experience.

Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office

Sheriff’s deputies of the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office provide all law enforcement and protective services duties in jails and courtrooms, and also uphold laws and provide police services for the 110,000 residents of Bonneville county.

Bannock County Sheriff’s Office

The 56 deputies of the Bannock County Sheriff’s Office patrol the county’s 1,142 square miles and protect its nearly 83,000 residents. All deputies must be non-smokers and remain so throughout their term of employment.

Municipal Police Departments in Idaho

College credits and post-secondary degrees are valued additions to candidate resumes for law enforcement positions with all of Idaho’s many local police departments.

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Boise Police Department

The Boise Police Department’s 300 sworn police officers work tirelessly toward the department’s mission to “Protect, Serve and Lead our Community to a Safer Tomorrow.” The department seeks applicants who are honest and ethical citizens and at least 21 years of age. Candidates must also have at least 64 college credits, or the equivalence of an Idaho Intermediate Certificate or higher.

Idaho Falls Police Department

Deputy sheriff candidates of the Idaho Falls Police Department must be at least 21 years old and must hold a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Candidates must also have a mostly clean record, free of criminal and illicit drug-use violations, as well as meet basic hearing, sight, and fitness standards.

Pocatello Police Department

The Pocatello Police Department consists of 90 sworn officers. Candidates must have a high school education or equivalent and must be able to pass basic background and fitness tests. The Pocatello PD offers a “reverse 911” program, sending out automated messages by voice or text regarding local emergencies to residents who sign up to participate.

Meridian Police Department

The Meridian Police Department serves a population of more than 114,000 and is home to 114 police officers and 37 civilian personnel. Applicants here must be at least 21 years old and have either 60 college credits, 4 years of military service, or a POST certificate to qualify.

Nampa Police Department

The Nampa Police Department consists of 64 patrol officers working in eight-man patrol teams, all of whom provide first response to emergency and non-emergency incidents.

Police officer candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent, and a preference is given to those with at least 64 academic or technical college credits.

Idaho Law Enforcement Salaries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for law enforcement professionals in Idaho is $51,060, with the top 10% earning an average salary of $77,320.

The following salary data, sourced directly from the respective department website, highlight the starting salary for police officers and deputy sheriffs. Additional salary information, including mid- to senior-level officers, is also presented, when available.

Police Officer Salaries

The average starting salary for police officers working out of the largest police departments is $46,295. The highest paid entry-level officers work for the Boise Police Department, earning $53,601 upon graduation from the academy.

  • Boise Police Department

Police officer recruits with the Boise Police Department earn a salary of $49,254 during training. Upon graduation from the academy, new officers (Police Officer I) earn a starting salary of $53,601.

A promotion to Police Officer II comes with a salary of $62,358.

  • Idaho Falls Police Department

Police officers with the Idaho Falls Police Department earn a salary range of $48,235 and $67,059.

As expected, advanced positions here come with higher salaries. For example, senior police officers earn between $53,206 and $73,694. Police lieutenants earn between $70,491 and $98,779, while police captains earn between $78,166 and $108,742.

  • Meridian Police Department

Meridian police officer recruits earn a starting salary of $42,764.

  • Nampa Police Department

The Nampa Police Department pays its police officer between $42,307 and $63,710.

  • Pocatello Police Department

The starting salary for officers with the Pocatello Police Department is $44,928.

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Sheriff’s Deputy Salaries

The average starting salary for sheriff’s deputies in Idaho is $42,473, about $6,000 less than their police officer counterparts.

  • Ada County Sheriff’s Office

The starting salary for deputy sheriffs with the Ada County Sheriff’s Office is between $43,700 and $45,656, depending on the recruit’s level of education, with the highest earners being those with a four-year degree.

  • Bannock County Sheriff’s Office

The starting salary for deputy sheriff’s with the Bannock County Sheriff’s Office is between $40,040 and $42,307.

  • Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office

The starting salary for deputy sheriffs with the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office is between $43,680 and $46,633, depending on the level of education.

State Trooper and State Police Salaries

The starting salary for police officer recruits with the Idaho State Police is $44,262.


Salary and employment data compiled by the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics in May of 2018 –

BLS salary data represents state and MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) average and median earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries. Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Agency-level salary and employment data was sourced directly from the municipal, county and state law enforcement agencies named and reflects the specific salary ranges and seniority- or rank-based pay described by the respective agency.

All salary and employment data accessed in August 2019.

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