Police officers in Missouri won’t get rich, but they can make a comfortable living that is in line with what other Missouri residents earn.
The median wage for all Missouri workers is $19.13 hourly or $39,780 annually, says the Occupational Employment Statistics office, a division of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The average hourly wage for police officers in the state is $20.04 hourly or $41,680 annually, as of May 2010, the agency says. The average wage for police officers nationally is $26.74 hourly or $55,620 annually, which means that Missouri police officers earn less than the national average.
But statistics don’t always tell the whole story, since salaries are dependent upon so many factors, including years of experience, education, geographic location and size of the department. Police departments in small cities obviously cannot pay as much as big city departments, such as Springfield, where the beginning officer makes less than $33,000, but over the years receives regular raises until his salary tops out at just under $52,000. The salary for a Kansas City patrol officer is even more, topping out at more than $65,000. Police officers who are ranked, such as captain, will earn more money than a patrolman, while the chief is usually the highest paid officer in the department.
New hires must attend the state police academy, which is paid training. Plus, departments usually provide officers with uniforms, which represents a savings since an officer does not need to buy work clothes; a weapon and ammunition, portable radio and other gear and equipment needed to perform the job.
Police department applicants must have at least a high school education, though at least two years of college is preferred; military duty can substitute for the college education. They must have a clean driving record and no felony convictions.