Although a county’s sheriff is a supervisory position equivalent to a police chief or police commissioner in a city’s police department, sheriffs are elected officials. In addition to sheriffs who provide policy-level decisions and, in some cases, handle larger crimes, sheriff’s deputies work as uniformed patrol officers in North Carolina, a position equivalent to police patrol officers. Because of the differences in their responsibilities, there are large differences between sheriff’s and deputy sheriff’s salaries.
North Carolina Sheriff's Salaries
Salaries for sheriffs in North Carolina vary between counties. Larger counties typically can afford higher budgets for their sheriffs, who assume greater responsibilities in their position than sheriffs of rural counties. Because of this, salaries for county sheriffs in the state vary from $48,313 in Alleghany County to $157,611 in Mecklenburg County, according to the University of Northern Carolina. Sheriffs in 18 counties in North Carolina earn salaries between $80,000 and $99,999.
North Carolina Deputy Sheriff's Salaries
Deputy sheriffs are the most commonly encountered members of a sheriff’s department. In North Carolina, the median annual salary for police and sheriff’s patrol officers is $38,590, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Half of all patrol officers earned salaries between $32,720 and $47,560. The average hourly wage for sheriff’s patrol officers in the state is $19.43.
Comparison to National Average Sheriff's Salaries
Nationwide, sheriffs and police chiefs earn a median salary of $95,968, according to Salary.com, with half receiving between $90,229 and $101,368 each year. Although sheriff salaries range significantly by county, 12 counties in North Carolina pay their sheriffs salaries higher than the 75th percentile mark for national earnings. Another 64 counties pay their sheriffs below the 25th percentile threshold for salaries for the position across the country.
Comparison to National Average Sheriff's Deputy Salaries
The median salary for all police patrol officers in the United States is $49,953. Half of all patrol officers and sheriffs earn between $41,607 and $58,926. The average annual salary for North Carolina’s deputy sheriffs reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is 77 percent of the national average wage for law enforcement patrol officers.