The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that some 103,450 detectives and other criminal investigators were employed in municipal, county, state and federal law enforcement organizations as of May 2018, earning an average annual salary of $85,020. The highest earners in the top ten percent made more than $138,800 that year on average. This is considerably more than the national average of $65,400 for patrol officers and sheriff’s deputies and is a compelling reason to pursue that promotion you’ve been eyeing and finaly become a detective.
In addition to time served on the job, other factors like higher rank and specialized duties have a significant impact on a police officer’s salary. Uniformed police officers with a lot of drive and dedication can achieve the rank of detective after several years of service and a lot of hard. That hard work is rewarded with considerably higher salaries. For example, in the District of Columbia, the average salary for detectives was $122,460 as of 2018. Compare that with patrol offers in DC who earned just $72,00 on average that year.
Detectives may also obtain special skills related to hostage negotiations, special operations or digital forensics that would allow them to enter more exclusive units. Detectives in these units usually receive hazard pay and other incentives beyond the base salary because of their additional training and the fact that they are more likely to work in high-risk situations.
Compiled by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the data contained in this table represents statewide combined salaries for detectives and criminal investigators serving at the municipal, county and state level:
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.