Law Enforcement Careers in Louisiana

In May 2019, the Statistical Analysis Center, which operates under the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Criminal Justice, released data for 2017 through its Uniform Crime Reporting Program that helped paint a picture of the kinds of challenges the state’s law enforcement officers deal with every day.

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With some 1.2 million violent crimes committed that year alone, the state experienced a violent crime rate of 382 incidents for every 100,000 people that call the state home. Within that were more than 17,000 homicides, 135,000 sexual assaults, 319,000 robberies, and more than 810,000 aggravated assaults. The 7.6 million property crimes reported that year, including burglaries and motor vehicle thefts, were calculated as an overall property crime rate of 2,300 incidents for every 100,00 people. The crime rates in all categories have remained largely flat in Louisiana for years, an unfortunate departure from the trend of lower crime rates year over year that’s being seen in much of the rest of the country.

Law enforcement officers certainly have their work cut out for them here, but it’s a place that the people who grew up here love enough to fight for. Anybody with that kind of commitment to keeping up the fight will find careers in law enforcement available at the state, parish, and city levels provide no shortage of opportunities to make communities throughout Louisiana safer for all law abiding residents.

Jobs with the Louisiana State Police

The Louisiana State Police has a trooper force of 1,022, all of whom are responsible for all elements of criminal and highway safety patrol throughout the state.

In addition to a patrol unit, the Louisiana State Police is home to a number of specialized divisions, including internal affairs, protective services, public affairs, deputy secretary, and bureau of investigation, and troopers and special officers of the LSP do everything from investigate insurance fraud to lead gaming enforcement protocols.

All prospective troopers and agents must fulfill a prerequisite that includes a college education, previous law enforcement or military experience, government employment, or some combination of these four.

Parish Sheriff’s Departments in Louisiana

With parish-wide jurisdictions overlapping the municipal jurisdictions of city PDs, sheriff’s deputies often work in tandem with local police, and always uphold the law of the land outside of city limits in unincorporated areas and rural enclaves. Becoming a sheriff’s deputy in one of Louisiana’s many parishes always involves a number of evaluations, drug screening, physical, medical, written, and polygraph testing before being considered for the job and beginning a comprehensive training program.

Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office

Deputies with the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office patrol the entire New Orleans parish, serve subpoenas, provide courtroom security, and oversee the 2,100 or so inmates housed in the New Orleans Parish jail on any given day. The agency has even come up with a unique way to meet the challenge of maintaining law and order during the annual Mardi Gras celebration: the booking bus. Also known as an intake and processing compound, people arrested for minor violations will be taken aboard the bus, fingerprinted, photographed, and booked on-site.

Deputy applicants with the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Departmentmust pass a written, polygraph, drug, and physical test in addition to participating in a personal interview before being offered a position and beginning their training.

East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office

The Criminal Operations Division of the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office includes uniformed patrol officers who are responsible for the safety and well-being of East Baton Rouge residents.

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Candidates for deputy positions must have a college education, past work experience as a certified peace officer, previous military service, or a combination of these.

Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office

The Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office includes a patrol division that is responsible for providing first line law enforcement services to keep the citizens of the parish safe. Deputies are primarily responsible for serving the unincorporated areas of the 900+ square mile parish.

Employment requirements for sheriff’s deputy candidates include passing reading comprehension, psychological, and medical exams.

Jobs with Municipal Police Departments in Louisiana

A variety of exciting opportunities, from patrol to community engagement to investigations, is available to Louisiana police officers who serve at the municipal level for the many PDs located throughout the state.

New Orleans Police Department

The New Orleans Police Department is divided into the bureaus of investigation and support, field operations, management services, and public integrity serves, serving eight districts throughout the greater New Orleans area.

Police officer candidates for the New Orleans Police Department must have either sixty college credits or two years of full-time military service.

Baton Rouge Police Department

The Baton Rouge Police Department is committed to their mission of Community Oriented Policing, which is designed to engage neighborhood and community organizations in collaborative problem-solving partnerships. Candidates must complete a multi-step process that involves passing a civil service exam, physical assessment, oral interview, background investigation and a series of professional exams before going on to the training academy.

Shreveport Police Department

The police officers of the Shreveport Police Department are responsible for patrolling the city’s 13 districts. Their duties include everything from criminal investigations to traffic enforcement. Applicants must pass the civil service exam, physical fitness test, sit before the applicant interview board, pass a background investigation, polygraph examination, psychological and medical evaluation before beginning training.

Lafayette Police Department

The Lafayette Police Department is organized into the divisions of criminal investigations, public affairs, patrol support and a SWAT Team that specializes in hostage negotiations and stand-off situations. To join the Lafayette Police Department, potential candidates must pass medical, psychological, physical fitness, and polygraph examinations.

Lake Charles Police Department

The Lake Charles Police Department is responsible for patrolling the city’s 40 square miles and providing services to its 75,000 residents. Candidates must pass a civil service exam, physical agility test, background investigation, oral board interview, polygraph and professional examinations before getting started at the training academy

Louisiana Law Enforcement Salaries

A post-secondary education is often a valued addition to a police officer’s resume in Louisiana, with many departments offering attractive educational salary incentives.

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Police Officer Salaries

  • Baton Rouge Police Department

Upon the successful completion of academy training, the police officers of the Baton Rouge Police Department earn a starting salary of $33,968.

  • Lafayette Police Department

Police officer recruits with the Lafayette Police Department earn a starting salary of $54,423. Second-year officers earn a salary bump to $57,603 and after two years of service, officers are designated ‘first class,’ a rank that earns an even higher salary of $63,962.

  • Lake Charles Police Department

The starting salary for police officers with the Lake Charles Police Department is $36,358, along with $500/month supplemental pay during their first year of service, for a total salary package of $42,358. Officers with bachelor’s degree also earn an additional $100/month.

  • New Orleans Police Department

Police officer recruits with the New Orleans Police Department earn a starting salary of $40,391. After one year of service, the salary for these law enforcement professionals increases to $56,566.

Salaries for police officers here can climb even higher, thanks to a variety of incentives for education ($1,000 for an associate degree, $2,000 for a bachelor’s degree, and $3,000 for a master’s or doctoral degree) and $1,500 special assignment pay for positions like field training officer, K-9 handler, diver, and bomb squad officer.

  • Shreveport Police Department

Police officer recruits with the Shreveport Police Department earn a salary of $26,148 during academy training. Upon completing the required training, officers earn a starting salary of $33,000, and after one year of service, the salary for these professionals increases again to $39,000. Those with college degrees may also earn an additional $100-$200 a month depending on their level of education.

Sheriff’s Deputy Salaries

Thanks to $6,000 annual state supplements for POST-certified sheriff’s deputies in Louisiana, starting salaries here are in line with other law enforcement officers throughout the state. (The following salaries include the $6,000 state supplement.)

  • Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office

Deputy recruits with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office earn a salary of $27,445. Upon graduation, recruits are promoted to the role of Deputy I, which comes with an annual salary of $42,015. Promotion to Deputy II comes with a salary increase to $43,905, promotion to Deputy III comes with a salary increase to $45,9000, and promotion to Deputy IV comes with a salary increase to $48,000.

  • Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office

The starting salary for deputy sheriffs with the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office is $40,000 – a $3,500 pay increase that was effective January 1, 2019.

State Trooper and State Police Salaries

State trooper cadets with the Louisiana State Police begin their careers earning $46,610. A 22-step salary schedule shows a top salary of $94,746 for these law enforcement professionals.

Of course, higher ranking state trooper positions come with larger paychecks. For example, sergeants with the state police earn a salary of $51,404 to $104,697, while lieutenants earn a salary of $56,911 and $115,690.


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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