Illinois ranks as 7th best state for Police Officers

Illinois ranks as 7th best state for Police Officers

Illinois ranks as 7th best state for Police Officers

In a comparison of all 50 states and how they treat their police officers, Illinois ranked 7th best. Rankings weighed safety, benefits and salaries among a host of criteria, according to a study prepared by WalletHub

With National Police Week kicking off on May 13, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2018’s Best & Worst States to Be a Police Officer.

In order to determine the best states to pursue a career in law enforcement, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 25 key indicators of police-friendliness. The data set ranges from median income for law-enforcement officers to police deaths per 1,000 officers to state and local police-protection expenses per capita.

Police officer saluting

Life & Work for Cops in Illinois (1=Best; 25=Avg.)

  • 15th – Law-Enforcement Officers per Capita
  • 1st – Median Income for Law-Enforcement Officers (Adjusted for Cost of Living)
  • 7th – Median Income Growth for Law-Enforcement Officers
  • 9th – State & Local Police-Protection Expenses per Capita
  • 18th – Police Deaths per 1,000 Officers

Note: “Law-enforcement officers” includes police and sheriff’s patrol officers, detectives and criminal investigators.

For the full report, please click here.

Law enforcement is a career that is always in the public eye, whether it’s for heroic reasons or scandal. It’s a profession that more than 900,000Americans hold, knowing full well the hazards associated with their occupation. In the past 10 years, for instance, more than 1,500 police officers, including 129 in 2017 alone, died in the line of duty. Tens of thousands more were assaulted and injured.

Because of such risks, law-enforcement agencies must offer enough incentives to attract and retain officers. So what qualities define a good place to live and work for police? To start, there’s a $62,960 mean annual wage that exceeds the $50,620 for all occupations. On top of that, there’s typically a generous benefits package can include retirement-contribution matches, tuition assistance, ample leave time, a take-home vehicle, and access to health and fitness facilities. Officers also may begin drawing full retirement benefits as early as age 40, depending on when they entered the force.

Beyond financial perks, officers are more likely to be attracted to police departments that steer clear of scandal and corruption and that are transparent with their communities. Public opinion on police remains divided, with younger people and minorities rating them much less positively than older caucasians. Naturally, police departments that have better relations with the areas they patrol are more attractive to new officers.

In order, therefore, to determine the best states in which to pursue a law-enforcement career, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 25 key indicators of police-friendliness. Our data set ranges from median income for law-enforcement officers to police deaths per 1,000 officers to state and local police-protection expenses per capita. Read on for our findings, commentary from a panel of researchers and full description of our methodology.

Best States to Be a Cop

Overall Rank
(1=Best)
State Total Score ‘Opportunity & Competition’ Rank ‘Job Hazards & Protections’ Rank ‘Quality of Life’ Rank
1 North Dakota 62.99 9 5 1
2 New York 59.93 2 15 12
3 Connecticut 58.48 37 1 8
4 Minnesota 57.89 13 3 27
5 California 56.87 3 6 32
6 Washington 56.84 5 4 33
7 Illinois 56.27 7 20 10
8 Texas 55.05 8 21 19
9 Maryland 53.71 12 29 7
10 Maine 52.91 48 2 15
11 New Hampshire 52.19 35 23 2
12 District of Columbia 51.62 1 49 37
13 Indiana 51.60 25 11 17
14 Massachusetts 51.50 10 9 41
15 Pennsylvania 51.36 6 27 30
16 New Jersey 50.13 17 10 36
17 South Dakota 49.95 45 7 6
18 Florida 49.90 44 17 5
19 Ohio 49.74 22 13 29
20 Michigan 49.65 11 35 21
21 Nebraska 49.35 21 8 35
22 Kansas 49.26 23 43 3
23 North Carolina 48.60 15 14 43
24 Hawaii 48.20 30 28 16
25 Arizona 48.15 16 34 26
26 Colorado 47.99 4 44 31
27 Rhode Island 47.53 26 22 28
28 Oklahoma 47.27 32 32 13
29 Virginia 46.84 20 12 48
30 Nevada 46.59 24 42 11
31 Iowa 46.34 28 25 25
32 Mississippi 45.35 27 41 14
33 Wisconsin 45.10 33 31 23
34 Oregon 44.66 40 26 24
35 Utah 44.63 51 19 9
36 Delaware 44.61 47 24 20
37 Vermont 44.19 29 18 45
38 Wyoming 43.88 18 36 42
39 Alabama 43.47 38 40 18
40 Georgia 42.97 34 16 49
41 Montana 41.47 31 46 22
42 Missouri 40.75 43 33 38
43 Tennessee 40.62 36 30 47
44 South Carolina 40.00 39 38 39
45 West Virginia 39.52 50 47 4
46 Kentucky 39.36 41 39 40
47 New Mexico 37.74 14 50 44
48 Alaska 37.39 19 51 34
49 Idaho 37.01 46 37 46
50 Louisiana 32.00 42 48 50
51 Arkansas 31.78 49 45 51
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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award-winning columnist, author & former Chicago City Hall reporter (1977-1992). A veteran who served during the Vietnam War and the recipient of four SPJ Peter Lisagor Awards for column writing, Hanania writes weekly opinion columns on mainstream American & Chicagoland topics for the Southwest News-Herald, Des Plaines Valley News, the Regional News, The Reporter Newspapers, and Suburban Chicagoland.  

Hanania also writes about Middle East issues for the Arab News, and The Arab Daily News criticizing government policies in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A critic of mainstream news media bias, Hanania advocates for peace & justice for Israel & Palestine, & the empowerment of Arabs in America. 

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

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His columns are archived here. Hanania was named "Best Ethnic American Columnist" by the New America Media in November 2007, and is the 2009 recipient of the SPJ National Sigma Delta Chi Award for column writing.

Email Ray Hanania at rghanania@gmail.com.

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