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Law Enforcement Careers in North Dakota

According to the North Dakota Attorney General, local law enforcement agencies in the state reported nearly 14,000 crime index offenses in 2011. The crime rate in North Dakota increased 9% in 2011 as compared to 2010, but is still lower than the rate of a decade ago.

Part of the reason for the relatively low crime rate in this state is due to the efforts of those engaged in law enforcement careers in North Dakota.  Those seeking law enforcement training in North Dakota should consider jobs as State Troopers, Deputy Sheriffs, or Police Officers in the state.

Jobs with the North Dakota Highway Patrol

The North Dakota Highway Patrol helps to create a safe environment for drivers on the roads of North Dakota.  In 2012, there were 147 fatal crashes on the state’s highways resulting in 170 fatalities.  51% of these crashes were related to the consumption of alcohol, leading the state troopers to focus on reducing the number of drunk drivers.

Those who seek jobs as State Troopers in North Dakota are required to have either a bachelor’s degree or an associate degree combined with 2 years of military service or work experience interacting with the public.  Having had a felony or domestic violence conviction will cause an applicant to be disqualified.

Jobs with the Bureau of Criminal Investigation in North Dakota

The Bureau of Criminal Investigation Division (BCI) assists the efforts of other law enforcement agencies to conduct criminal and drug enforcement investigations and maintains the sex offender and criminal history registration systems.  It also provides training for those in law enforcement and educates the public on the dangers and signs of drug abuse.  For instance, they issued a recent alert to farmers about the high volume of theft of anhydrous ammonia (fertilizer) that is used in the manufacture of methamphetamine.

Jobs with Sheriff’s Departments in North Dakota

Those seeking jobs as Sheriff’s Deputies in North Dakota have a number of options in the many counties of the state.


Grand Forks County:  There are 35 deputies assigned to the Grand Forks Sheriff’s Department.  The number of drug arrests in 2012 was nearly double that of 2011, primarily due to increased drug interdiction office by the Deputy Sheriffs of this department.  Law enforcement efforts have also helped to reduce the number of thefts, burglaries, and vandalism in Grand Forks County.

Morton County:  Most of the personnel of the office of the Morton County Sheriff are assigned to patrol and corrections.  Additional assignments include Civil Process and Warrants, Investigator, and Narcotics Investigator.  Members of the Morton County Sheriff’s Department removed nearly 120 horses and donkeys from a property near New Salem after almost 100 dead animals had been found on the property.

Ward County:  The Ward County Sheriff’s Department has two divisions:  the Investigations Division and the Patrol Division.  Those who seek jobs as Sheriff Deputies in Ward County must have at least a high school diploma along with at least a year of full time work experience with the public.  The department prefers those who have a two year college degree and a year’s experience working in law enforcement.

Jobs with Municipal Police Departments in North Dakota

Those seeking jobs as Police Officers in North Dakota have many cities to choose from.

Bismarck PD:  The members of the Bismarck Police Department are dedicated to fighting crime in Bismarck, which has a rates of violent and property crime considerably higher than the national average in the U.S.

Fargo PD:  The Fargo Police Department has 145 sworn officers who work to protect the over 105,000 residents of this city.  The rates of both violent and property crime is higher in Fargo than in most other U.S. cities.  Police officers in Fargo are members of the Investigative, Intelligence, or the Narcotics Units.  The Narcotics Unit is also responsible for fighting gangs and prostitution.

Grand Rapids PD:  The members of the Operations Division of the Grand Rapids Police Department are divided into three bureaus:  the Uniform Patrol Bureau, the Community Resources Bureau, and the Criminal Investigations Bureau.  This division also includes a K-9 program, a bicycle patrol, and special purpose vehicles.

Minot PD:  The members of the Minot Police Department fight crime in this metropolis that has a higher murder rate than much of the country, but only average rates of property crime.  Those who seek jobs as Police Officers in Minot are required to have an AA degree in Criminal Justice.  Possession of a four year degree makes a candidate more desirable.

North Dakota Law Enforcement Salaries

The Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-2013 Edition, an occupational guide released by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, found the median North Dakota law enforcement salaries in 2010 to be:

  • Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers: $45,490
  • Detectives and Criminal Investigators: $71,770
  • Supervisors of Police and Detectives: $66,530

Salaries among Detectives and Criminal Investigators in North Dakota

Area name
Annual mean wage
West Central North Dakota nonmetropolitan area
Far Eastern North Dakota nonmetropolitan area

Police Officer and Sheriff Salary in North Dakota

Because compensation among police officers usually varies between cities, we can look at some of the police departments throughout the state to get a better idea of the average police officer salary in North Dakota.

Fargo Police Department

  • Starting pay: $47,466
  • Yearly increases until pay level 11 is reached, which is $61,692
  • Longevity pay after 10 years of service

Bismarck Police Department

  • Starting salary: $41,579 to $46,775
  • Full pay range: $41,579 to $62,368

Grand Forks Police Department

  • Starting salary: $43,201.60 (unlicensed), $44,220.80 (licensed)
  • Top salary: $60,984 (Officer), $68,997 (Corporal)

West Fargo Police Department

  • A 20-step pay scale
  • Police Officer step 1: $40,395
  • Police Officer step 20: $71,831

Salaries among Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers in North Dakota

Area name
Annual mean wage
Fargo ND-MN
Grand Forks ND-MN
Far Western North Dakota nonmetropolitan area
West Central North Dakota nonmetropolitan area
Estimate Not Released
East Central North Dakota nonmetropolitan area
Far Eastern North Dakota nonmetropolitan area

State Trooper Salary in North Dakota

According to the North Dakota Highway Patrol, Recruit Troopers receive an annual salary of $42,000. In addition to salary, both room and board are provided at no cost. Troopers are paid between $47,268 and $62,592 depending on experience and other factors. The salary for Recruit Troopers is automatically raised to $47,268 upon graduation from the Law Enforcement Training Academy. Troopers are also given an expense allowance of $2,400 per year.

Salaries among Police Supervisors and Detectives in North Dakota

Area name
Annual mean wage
Fargo ND-MN
Grand Forks ND-MN

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