Kentucky is an amazing place to live and work and has historically been known for a relatively low crime rate, but low crime rates certainly don’t mean no crime at all. According to the Crime in Kentucky Report for 2018 published by the Kentucky State Police, nearly 276,000 serious crimes were reported that year in total. This represents a serious crime being committed about every two minutes, a motor vehicle theft every 50 minutes, a sexual assault every hour and one homicide every single day. That’s a lot of crime for a state thought of as having a low crime rate, and it’s a lot for the state’s law enforcement community to deal with.
Anybody with the dedication and skill it takes to rise to the challenge of combatting crime, and who can meet the education, experience and background requirements of state, county and local law enforcement agencies, can join in to help make Kentucky’s communities safer for everybody.
Jobs with the Kentucky State Police
The Kentucky State Police is divided into three divisions: Commercial Vehicle Enforcement, Operations, and Technical Services. Included in these divisions are special enforcement troops and forensic units.
The KSP patrols the state’s highways and interstates, enforcing traffic laws and providing assistance to citizens and other law enforcement agencies.
Prospective KSP troopers must be in good shape physically and mentally and must have a basic education that includes 60 college credits or an associate’s degree from an accredited university or college. An alternative to this education requirement may be substituted by a high school diploma, along with either two years of active military service or two years of experience as a law enforcement officer.
- Strayer University - Bachelors of Science Degree in Criminal Justice
- Rasmussen College - Law Enforcement Associate's Degree and Post-Degree Certificates; Criminal Justice Bachelor's Degrees
- Michigan State University - Online Master of Science in Law Enforcement Intelligence and Analysis
- Saint Joseph's University - Online Master of Science in Criminal Justice
- Capella University - Online BS, MS and PhD Criminal Justice Degree Programs
- Utica College - Online Bachelor's of Science in Criminal Justice
Jobs with County Sheriff’s Departments in Kentucky
Outside of city limits in unincorporated areas and rural communities, Kentucky state law is enforced by the many sheriff’s offices that operate at the county level. Having a county-wide jurisdiction means they also work to support municipal police forces even within the cities and townships of the state.
Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office
The Jefferson County’s Sheriff’s Office merged with the Louisville Police Department in 2003. Since then the sheriff’s department has been responsible for prosecution assistance, court services, the serving of official papers, and outreach in local schools. Prerequisites for employment include passing polygraph, drug, and psychological evaluations.
Fayette County Sheriff’s Office
The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office merged with the Lexington Police Department about 45 years ago. Today, the department is responsible for court services and tax collection and has a renowned inmate labor program that has beautified the county’s parks. Potential candidates for employment must have knowledge of and meet the Peace Officer Professional Standards.
Warren County Sheriff’s Office
The stated goal of the Warren County Sheriff’s Office and its deputies is to ensure that everyone can enjoy a safe neighborhood where they can thrive and be free. To this end, the Warren County Sheriff’s Office provides 24-hour law enforcement services to the county’s 110,000 citizens.
Municipal Law Enforcement Agencies: Police Jobs in Kentucky
A high school diploma or GED and a clean background are required when applying to all police forces within Kentucky. Post-secondary college credits and/or previous law enforcement or military experience are also preferred among many police departments in Kentucky.
Louisville Police Department
The Louisville PD major crimes unit investigates homicides, financial crimes, robberies, and crimes against children. They have a forensics unit with special training in evidence collection from crime scenes with an additional video and photo squad. Applicants seeking jobs with the Louisville PD must provide an official college transcript of 60 semester hours.
Lexington Police Department
The Lexington Police Department is home to 630 sworn officers and about 150 civilian personnel.
Owensboro Police Department
The Owensboro Police Department’s patrol officers are responsible for patrolling the 18.5 square miles of Owensboro and conducting preliminary criminal investigations. Anybody seeking employment as a police officer must have either an associate degree in a career-related field, two years of active military service, three years of previous law enforcement experience, or some combination of these.
Bowling Green Police Department
This Bowling Green Police Department works closely with the local community, sponsoring programs that include citizens and junior police academies, neighborhood watch, and teen driver safety resources. Ideal applicants will have at least one of the following: 60 college credits, four years of active or reserve military service, or previous experience as a certified law enforcement officer.
Covington Police Department
Founded in 1898, the Covington Police Department is the largest law enforcement agency in Northern Kentucky and today has more than 100 sworn officers. The police officers of the Covington PD provide a full range of services throughout Covington’s 19 neighborhoods.
Police officer candidates must have either 30 college credits, two years of active and consecutive military service, or two years of previous employment as a law enforcement officer.
Kentucky Law Enforcement Salaries
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Kentucky law enforcement officers earned a median salary of $44,820, with the top 10% earning an average salary of $63,520.
The following salary data, pulled directly from each police department and sheriff’s office, reveals starting salaries for police officers and sheriff’s deputies. In some instances, the agencies shown here provided salary data for officers in training and for entry-level officers (post-Academy training). Additional salary data, including information on raises that come with experience and promotions are also included when available.
Police Officer Salaries
The starting salary for police officers is largely consistent throughout Kentucky, with the largest police departments all reporting starting salaries of between $41,000-$43,000.
- Bowling Green Police Department
The police officers with the Bowling Green Police Department earn a salary of $41,070 during academy training. Upon graduation, their salary increases to $45,070.
- Covington Police Department
Police officers with the Covington Police Department earn a salary of $41,820 to $62,448.
- Lexington Police Department
Lexington PD recruits earn a salary of $40,25 while in the police academy. Upon graduation, first-year officers earn $42,345, with an additional $1,500 available for those with bachelor’s degrees.
- Louisville Metro Police Department
New police officer recruits with the Louisville Metro Police Department earn $37,460. Upon graduation, the salary for these professionals increases to $43,185.
- Owensboro Police Department
New police officers with the Owensboro Police Department earn a starting salary of $41,683. The top pay for these law enforcement professionals is $69,409.
Sheriff’s Deputy Salaries
Sheriff’s deputy salaries, while not publicly available in most cases, tend to be lower than their police officer counterparts working throughout the state in municipal police departments. For example, sheriff’s deputies in the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office earn a starting salary of $35,163 after academy training.
State Trooper and State Police Salaries
Cadet troopers with the Kentucky State Police earn $36,408 during academy training. Upon graduation, the salary for these state law enforcement professionals increases to $39,417. Thereafter, troopers here earn a 10% salary increase every two years, with a maximum salary of $69,829. Higher ranking positions here come with larger salary ranges. For example, sergeants earn between $45,271 and $90,686
Salary and employment data compiled by the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics in May of 2018 – https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ky.htm.
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.