careertrend article image
Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images

The Salary for Police Captains

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

A police captain assumes a demanding role that involves administrative leadership, training and oversight. He often assumes leadership over a patrol, training or detective division and ensures that department objectives are adhered to properly. Police captains perform inspections and review the performance levels of their subordinate officers, while also serving as liaison officers between their department and government and corporate entities. Some police captains serve as instructors at police training academies as well. The compensation level for police captains often corresponds with the complexity surrounding their responsibilities, as well as jurisdictional income and cost-of-living indexes


The national average annual salary for police captains is approximately $65,450, with the entry level salary at around $53,900 and an increase potential at about $77,000, according to the website State Trooper Salary. Police captain salaries vary by department and jurisdiction and often increase with seniority and good performance. Starting salaries for police captains often range between $43,120 to $64,680, while more experienced captains often earn between $61,600 to $92,400.

Regional Comparisons

Police captain salaries vary among departments and jurisdictions, depending on the income levels, economy, crime rate and other factors. For example, police captains in Concord, North Carolina, are paid $105,733 on average, which is well above the national average. Police captains in Elizabeth, New Jersey, however, are paid an average salary of $49,979, which is lower than the national average. The primary factor affecting police captain salaries is the correlative cost of living within the jurisdiction they serve.

Contributing Factors

Police captain salaries vary for a variety of reasons. Most often, the locality and income levels influence police captain salaries in terms of budget allotment, but within their departments, police captains earn salaries commensurate with their performance and seniority. Police captains with more specialized experience in the fields of narcotics, special victims, white collar and organized crime are also more likely to receive a higher salary than a normal captain with generalized duties. Case in point, although time in grade may apply, the quality of service, rather than quantity, often determines salary rates and increases for most police captains

Career Outlook

Police captains enjoy a strong and stable profession with much potential for growth and advancement within the police department, as well as opportunities in the federal government. Even despite personal safety risks inherent with police work, police captains often find much fulfillment in serving the public and curtailing crime rates in exchange for competitive salaries, benefits and job security. Police captains can advance to the ranks of commander, deputy chief and chief of police within the department or pursue comparable opportunities in federal law enforcement agencies such as the U.S. Marshals, the FBI or the Department of Homeland Security.