CHARLESTON, W.V. (WOWK) — Being a police officer is one of the most dangerous occupations, and events surrounding the enforcement of COVID-19 and heightened public scrutiny of police brutality incidents have put policing under the spotlight even more.
Combine the high risk with the increased public criticism, and it becomes harder and harder for law enforcement entities to hire and retain officers. Law enforcement agencies must offer attractive wages and benefits to help recruit new officers and keep their veterans.
In a study by WalletHub, the 50 states plus the District of Columbia were compared across 30 key indicators of “police-friendliness,” including median income, police deaths per 1,000 officers, and state and local police protection expenses per capita.
The three main categories by which states were evaluated include opportunity and competition, law enforcement training requirements, and job hazards and protections.
The top five “best” states to be a law enforcement officer are:
- District of Columbia
Colorado came in just out of the top five, No. 7 overall.
The five “worst” states to be an officer are:
- West Virginia
Kentucky and West Virginia have the lowest and second-lowest state and local police-protection expenses per capita. The District of Columbia and Alaska have the highest.
Despite being ranked the fifth-best state overall for police officers, Ohio still has the third-lowest percentage of homicide cases solved. Both North and South Dakota have the highest.
Colorado is ranked 9th overall in opportunity, 32nd for training requirements and 19th for job hazards and protection.
To see the full rankings and learn how each category is calculated, you can visit the study here.