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Salary for Detectives

There are different types of detectives (e.g. private detectives and police detectives), plus there are other factors that will determine pay rate, such as level of experience and geographic location. But here's some general info, published by the U.S. Department of Labor:

Police and sheriff's patrol officers had median annual earnings of $42,270 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $32,300 and $53,500. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $25,270, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $65,330. Median annual earnings were $47,090 in State government, $42,020 in local government, and $41,600 in Federal Government.

In 2002, median annual earnings of police and detective supervisors were $61,010. The middle 50 percent earned between $47,210 and $74,610. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $36,340, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $90,070. Median annual earnings were $78,230 in Federal Government, $64,410 in State government, and $59,830 in local government.

In 2002, median annual earnings of detectives and criminal investigators were $51,410. The middle 50 percent earned between $39,010 and $65,980. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $31,010, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $80,380. Median annual earnings were $66,500 in Federal Government, $47,700 in local government, and $46,600 in State government.

Federal law provides special salary rates to Federal employees who serve in law enforcement. Additionally, Federal special agents and inspectors receive law enforcement availability pay (LEAP)�equal to 25 percent of the agent�s grade and step�awarded because of the large amount of overtime that these agents are expected to work. For example, in 2003 FBI agents enter Federal service as GS-10 employees on the pay scale at a base salary of $39,115, yet earned about $48,890 a year with availability pay. They can advance to the GS-13 grade level in field nonsupervisory assignments at a base salary of $61,251, which is worth $76,560 with availability pay. FBI supervisory, management, and executive positions in grades GS-14 and GS-15 pay a base salary of about $72,381 or $85,140 a year, respectively, and equaled $90,480 or $106,430 per year including availability pay. Salaries were slightly higher in selected areas where the prevailing local pay level was higher. Because Federal agents may be eligible for a special law enforcement benefits package, applicants should ask their recruiter for more information.

Total earnings for local, State, and special police and detectives frequently exceed the stated salary because of payments for overtime, which can be significant. In addition to the common benefits�paid vacation, sick leave, and medical and life insurance�most police and sheriffs� departments provide officers with special allowances for uniforms. Because police officers usually are covered by liberal pension plans, many retire at half-pay after 20 or 25 years of service.

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