The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 111,930 detectives were employed in police organizations in 2010. The average annual salary for these detectives was $75,720 with the top ten percent earning more than $122,290. This is considerably more than the national average of $55,010 for other police officers and is a compelling reason to seek promotion to 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. Many uniformed police officers achieve the rank of detective after several years of service. Detectives are compensated with considerably higher salaries. For example, in the District of Columbia, the average salary for detectives was $94,620, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
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 augmented salaries because they have additional training and are utilized 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 salary averages for detectives and criminal investigators serving at the municipal level: