Washington ranked 8th best state to be a law enforcement officer, survey says

Washington has been ranked as the eighth-best state in the U.S. to be a law enforcement officer, according to data from WalletHub.

The finance website compiled a table ranking law enforcement work in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, generating scores for ‘Opportunity & Competition,’ ‘Training Requirements’ and ‘Job Hazards & Protections.’

The top 10 best states to be a law enforcement officer, according to WalletHub, are:

  1. Connecticut
  2. California
  3. Illinois
  4. Washington, D.C.
  5. Maryland
  6. Massachusetts
  7. Minnesota
  8. Washington
  9. Colorado
  10. Ohio

Several metrics factor into these categories, like officers per capita, salaries and income growth, hours of education and training, use-of-force prosecution, confidentiality laws, police deaths per 1,000 officers and dozens of other items.

Washington in recent years has made steps to address perceived policing issues. Several agencies were impacted by ‘defund the police’ movements, and departments like the Seattle Police Department lost hundreds of officers. At the same time, state legislature passed bills limiting the applications of use-of-force by officers, as well as increasing transparency around police operations and misconduct.


Seattle Police use-of-force allegations dropped since 2020, OPA report finds

Allegations of an overuse of force by Seattle Police were down 61% in 2021 compared to 2020—a major takeaway from the Office of Police Accountability’s Annual Report, released on Tuesday.

Some measures have since been walked back—the Seattle City Council is again considering hiring bonuses and retention pay for police, while the police chief claims they have a staffing crisis, and the police union says officer loss has been vastly underreported.

Despite this, Washington earned top marks and fared better than our neighbors in Oregon and Idaho, according to WalletHub.

The site’s data shows that Washington officers enjoy the second-highest median income, as well as the second-highest median income growth in the country. The state also has the second-fewest officers per capita in the U.S., ahead of only Oregon.

WalletHub’s chart also gives Washington the fourth-highest ranking for ‘Opportunity & Competition,’ which includes metrics like starting salary, income, income growth and officers per capita. The state also ranks 13th for training requirements and 20th for job hazards.

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The five worst states to be an officer are Mississippi, West Virginia, Alaska, Hawaii and Arkansas.

You can see the full table on the WalletHub website.