A police chief is the highest ranking police officer in a police department. The level of responsibility for this position varies greatly with the size of the city, and the police chief of a major city may command thousands of officers. Police chiefs typically earn a salary from the local government that employs them.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provides salary information on police officers by rank as of 2008. Police chiefs had a minimum salary of $90,570 per year and a maximum salary of $113,930 per year. Deputy chiefs had annual salaries between $74,834 and $96,209, and police captains earned between $72,761 and $91,178. Police lieutenants earned between $65,688 and $79,268 per year, and police sergeants had salaries between $58,739 and $70,349.
The BLS provides salary information for all police officers by industry as of 2010. The highest-paid police officers were in state government, where the average annual income was $58,200. The next highest paid police officers were in local government, with salaries averaging $55,710 per year. Police officers in federal government earned an average of $51,590 per year, and police officers employed by universities earned an average of $46,560 per year.
The highest-paid police officers were in California with an average salary of $77,290 per year in 2010, according to the BLS. New York had the next highest-paid police officers with an average of $60,270 per year, and police officers in Texas earned an average of $50,440 per year. Florida's police officers made $55,840 per year, and the average annual income for police officers in Illinois was $66,680.
The employment of police chiefs should increase by 10 percent from 2008 to 2018, which is approximately equal to the average employment growth for all occupations during this period. The overall population growth and retiring police chiefs will continue to drive the availability of police chief positions. The best opportunities for new police chiefs will be in small departments that offer low salaries.