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Law Enforcement Careers in Texas

In Texas, laws are enforced at the city/municipal, county, and state levels. Each type of law enforcement career in Texas has its own requirements and tests that must be passed before candidates can be licensed as law enforcement officers.

Municipal police officers in Texas serve in their jurisdictions as peace officers, while the many county sheriffs’ departments here employ jailers and deputies to serve both in and outside of the state’s major metro areas. State troopers work under the jurisdiction of the Texas Department of Public Safety… as do the unique and storied Texas Rangers.

Police Officer Jobs in Texas – TX

In Texas, police officers are known as peace officers. These jobs may be found in cities and municipalities across Texas, including:

  • Houston I.S.D. Police Department
  • Laredo Police Department
  • Lubbock Police Department
  • Fort Worth Police Department
  • Arlington Police Department

According to Uniform Crime Reports (UCR), in 2017 crimes in metropolitan areas of Texas decreased by 4.8 percent from 2016 numbers.

 

Deputy Sheriff Jobs in Texas – TX

Each of the 254 counties in Texas has an elected sheriff, responsible for countywide law enforcement, court security, and jail services. Sheriff’s may deputize assistants as peace officers. Some of the largest county sheriff’s offices in the state include:

  • Austin County Sheriff’s Office
  • Dallas County Constable Precincts
  • Houston County Sheriff’s Office
  • Collin County Sheriff’s Office
  • El Paso County Sheriff’s Office

UCR reports from 2017 indicate that incidents of crime reported by Texas county sheriff departments decreased by 6.0 percent from 2016.

Qualifications for Becoming a Peace Officer or County Jailer in Texas

All peace officers and county jailers in Texas must complete a basic licensing/training course, pass a state licensing examination, and be officially appointed by a Texas law enforcement agency.  Basic requirements to enroll in the licensing course include:

  • U.S. citizenship
  • No family violence offense convictions
  • May operate motor vehicle legally
  • May possess firearms/ammunition legally
  • No convictions for Class B misdemeanor in past 10 years
  • No convictions for any misdemeanors above a Class B ever
  • No current criminal convictions
  • High school diploma/equivalent or 12 hours of college credit
  • Pass medical and psychological examinations and drug tests
  • Pass a background investigation
  • Meet age requirements:
    • Peace officer: 21  (unless candidate has an associate degree or 60 semester hours of college credit – age requirement then is 18)
    • County jailer: 18

Training for Peace Officer and County Jailer Jobs in Texas

All prospective Texas peace officers must pass the current basic Texas peace officer course, taken at a licensed law enforcement academy. Contract, academic and out-of-state training programs may be approved by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement.

All prospective Texas county jailers must pass the current basic Texas county corrections course.

State Trooper Jobs With the Highway Patrol in Texas – TX

The Texas Highway Patrol Division of the Texas Department of Public Safety employs police officers trained to deal with state traffic supervision and criminal law enforcement on state and rural roads in Texas. As of 2016, there are 2,862 commissioned Highway Patrol officers in Texas.

The headquarters of the Texas Highway Patrol Division is located in Austin. There is also a unit located in the Capitol Region, Region VII, of downtown Austin. Highway patrol offices are located in:

  • Wichita Falls
  • Waco
  • Tyler
  • San Antonio
  • San Angelo
  • Pierce
  • Midland
  • McAllen
  • Lufkin
  • Lubbock
  • Laredo
  • Hurst
  • Houston
  • Garland
  • Corpus Christi
  • Conroe
  • Beaumont
  • Austin
  • Amarillo
  • Abilene

Texas state troopers are helping to keep the state safe. Crimes in the state of Texas decreased in almost all categories in 2017. Compared to 2016’s crime statistics:

  • Murder decreased by 4.1 percent
  • Robbery decreased by 3.4percent
  • Motor vehicle theft decreased by 1.8 percent
  • Burglary decreased by 10.1 percent

Qualifications for Becoming a State Trooper in Texas

  • Submit an online application
  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Be at least 20 years old
  • Have at least 60 college credit hours OR 24 months of police or military experience
  • Pass the Trooper Trainee Test
  • Pass a background investigation
  • Pass a physical/medical examination
  • Pass a physical demands test
  • Pass a polygraph examination

Texas Law Enforcement Salaries

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2018, Texas represented the second highest employment level for police and sheriff’s patrol officers of any state in the nation. Pay levels are about average, with the typical officer making $29.74 per hour, or $61,870 per year, and those in the top ten percent bringing in $41.09 per hour, or $85,470 a year.

Those averages don’t tell you a lot about the individual departments you may be interested in, though, which is why we list below salary ranges for a selection of metropolitan and non-metropolitan law enforcement agencies in Texas. Where available, we include job titles; otherwise, data is offered for entry, mid-level, and senior positions. Senior positions may include those with supervisory responsibility depending on departmental policies and contracts. Entry level data is given for post-probationary status.

None of the numbers reflect incentive or overtime pay, although in some departments that can add substantially to your take-home numbers.

Police Officer Salaries

Texas metropolitan police officers are both numerous and well-paid. It’s not unusual for senior positions to take home salaries in the six-figure range, a very comfortable living in a state with a reasonable cost-of-living.

  • Austin Police Department
    • Police Officer – $59,268/yr
    • Corporal/Detective – $80,013/yr
    • Sergeant – $114,318/yr
  • DallasPolice Department
    • Police Officer – $60,000/yr
    • Senior Corporal – $87,632/yr
    • Sergeant – $95,971/yr
  • Fort WorthPolice Department
    • Entry – $59,529/yr
    • Mid-level – $88,150/yr
    • Senior – $107,245/yr
  • Houston ISDPolice Department
    • Police Officer – $49,917/yr
    • Senior Police Officer – $67,022/yr
    • Police Sergeant – $84,601/yr
  • San AntonioPolice Department
    • Patrol Officer – $52,188/yr
    • Detective – $79,020/yr
    • Sergeant – $86,340/yr

Sheriff’s Deputy Salaries

Not only does Texas have the second highest overall employment level for law enforcement patrol officers in the country, but it has two of the top rural areas for LEO employment in North and West Texas, making it one of the easiest states for finding a sheriff’s deputy job.

  • BexarCounty Sheriff’s Department
    • Deputy Sheriff – $59,880/yr
    • Deputy Sheriff Sergeant – $71,724/yr
    • Deputy Sheriff Lieutenant – $78,876/yr
  • Dallas County Sheriff’s Department
    • Deputy Sheriff/Constable I – $56,481/yr
    • Deputy Constable II – $75,171/yr
    • Deputy Constable III – $88,777/yr
  • Harris County Sheriff’s Department
    • Deputy V – $50,814/yr
    • Deputy II – $60,507/yr
    • Deputy SR I – $71,739/yr
  • Tarrant County Sheriff’s Department
    • Deputy Sheriff – $59,342/yr
    • Sergeant – $70,907/yr
    • Lieutenant – $86,486/yr
  • Travis County Sheriff’s Department
    • Deputy – $53,347/yr
    • Senior Deputy – $57,082/yr

State Trooper and State Police Salaries

  • Texas Highway Patrol
    • Trooper I – $73,208/yr
    • Trooper IV – $99,843/yr
    • Sergeant/Agent – $118,931/yr
  • Texas Ranger Division
    • Rangers are paid on the THP salary scale, with a minimum entry point of Trooper II, or $89,264/yr

 

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_tx.htm#11-9111.

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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