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Does a Deputy Sheriff Make More Money Than a Police Officer?

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Although both are law-enforcement agencies, police departments and sheriff’s offices differ in a number of significant ways, some of which impact the salaries of police officers and deputy sheriffs. As a general rule, rural sheriff’s offices pay lower deputy salaries than mid- or large-size police departments. However, many sheriff’s departments and offices located in counties that have large populations pay higher salaries than even large metropolitan police departments. The salaries of rural deputy sheriffs also often are higher than small cities, towns and villages within the same county.

Los Angeles County

Los Angeles County has a population of nearly 10 million, with about 3.8 million of those residents within the city limits of Los Angeles, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. The Los Angeles metropolitan area, which includes areas of Orange County, has a population of nearly 9.9 million. A Los Angeles County deputy sheriff trainee earns $4,702.45 to $5,842.09 a month, which is $56,429 to $70,105 per year based on education level. This also is the salary range for academy graduates. Laterally trained deputies — those who have law-enforcement experience in other jurisdictions — earn a monthly salary of $5,588.36 to $6,976.73, or $67,060 to $83,721 annually. A Los Angeles Police Department Officer I earns $45,226 to $61,095 a year; Police Officer II make $61,095 to $80,075 annually; and a Police Officer III makes $64,519 to $84,668 per year.

National Averages

CB Salary reports a U.S. average salary of $58,974 for police officers. The website also reports an average salary of $63,216 for deputy sheriffs. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a combined median salary for both police and sheriff patrol officers of $53,540, with a middle 50th percentile pay range of $40,830 to $69,070.

Onondaga County, New York

As of 2011, the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department paid deputies $42,221 to $60,100 a year. The Syracuse Police Department paid $42,654 to $63,549 annually. Onondaga County has a population of 467,000 and Syracuse, the county’s largest city, has 145,170 people.

Caddo Parish, Louisiana

Rural Caddo Parish has a population of 252,161, with Shreveport containing 200,145 of those residents. Caddo Parish paid its security deputies a starting salary of $33,001.28 as of 2008. After one year, the salary increases to $38,101.28. A corrections deputy earns $26,401.44 to start and $28,202.72 after one year. Bonuses are awarded for attaining college degrees. As of 2008, Shreveport pays its officers $2,179 a month, or $21,148 a year, while attending police academy training and $2,750 per month, or $33,000 annually, upon completion of training.

Dinwiddie County, Virginia

Dinwiddie County has a population of only 27,209. The salary range for a sheriff’s deputy was $35,601 to $38,338 as of April 2009. The city of Petersburg, located on the northeastern Dinwiddie County border, is an independent city, meaning it is not technically located in any Virginia county. Its population is 30,513 and the starting pay for a police officer is $30,146 as of 2008.

Clackamas County, Oregon

Clackamas County has a population of 375,992 and the county seat is Oregon City. As of 2011, the salary range for a deputy sheriff was $50,123.87 to $64,150.95. Oregon City offers a starting 2011 hourly wage of $23.59 to $28.44, or $49,067 to $59,155 a year, for police officers.


John Kibilko has been writing professionally since 1979. He landed his first professional job with "The Dearborn Press" while still in college. He has since worked as a journalist for several Wayne County newspapers and in corporate communications. He has covered politics, health care, automotive news and police and sports beats. Kibilko earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Wayne State University.

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