Police officers in Massachusetts perform the same function as front-line law enforcement officers in other states, working as government employees assigned to protecting communities from crime and assisting public safety. To compensate officers for their work, they receive both a salary and a benefits package similar to that in other towns and cities. For Massachusetts as a state the average officer salary hits about the mid-$50,000s with an additional $20,000 in benefits. This makes the total compensation package closer to $70,000 or $75,000 when totaled.
Officers receive a middle income salary early in their careers mainly because of the nature of their work. Officers can begin working as early as 21 years of age and can complete a career by the time they reach their early 50s. The work itself is dangerous, and officers can get serious injured or hurt in the middle of their careers, stopping them from continuing their jobs in some cases where injuries are serious. In some cases, officers get killed leaving entire young families in the lurch.
Officers will increase their salaries over time with promotions if they show an aptitude to understand police work, procedures, policies, and they show a good ability to catch criminals. As officers promote, their salaries will increase with the rise in rank and responsibilities.
There is some fluctuation of salaries paid across the state of Massachusetts with the urban areas paying more than smaller towns and communities. For example, Boston will pay a rank and file officer $55,150 a year while Worcester pays an average $53,700 a year and New Bedford pays $52,650 annually.
In addition to these salary levels, an officer typically receives an employment benefit package worth anywhere from $20,000 to $25,000 annually. These packages include vacation and sick time, retirement benefits, a health insurance plan for the officer and his family, a life insurance plan, and other similar fringe benefits typically given to officers. These packages help recruit and retain police officers versus other jurisdictions that don’t pay as much.
One of the big problems facing police departments in Massachusetts as well as other cities is the cost of police officer pensions who have already retired. Due to advances in medical science as well as rising salaries over the decades, pension programs are costing local governments more. This bites into the funds available to pay for and support existing, employed officers. Massachusetts is no exception to this problem.