Arkansas Ranks Second-Lowest In Law Enforcement Pay

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GREENWOOD (KFSM)- A recent study from the Bureau of Labor shows Arkansas as one of the top states in the country for underpaying law enforcement.

As the cost of living rises so does pay, but for police officers in Arkansas, the average salary is $37,330.

Greenwood police chief, Will Dawson is originally from New Jersey and reflects on the vast difference in pay for law enforcement between the states.

"In my hometown that is a little bigger than this, you're talking about after five years, they were making $90,000," Dawson said. "Here after five years, you're going to be making $35,000 or so."

For the men and women in blue, it takes a special person to perform their job.

"If you ask the average citizen if they'd run towards gunfire for $15 an hour, I would say most of them would say no," Dawson said.

Dawson said being in law enforcement is a job that never stops.

"Most people, when they clock out to go home for the day, they're done," Dawson said. "For a police officer, I don't think they ever clock out. You're subject to recall and you miss a lot of life events; kids' birthdays and holidays."

With the schedule and pay that comes with being an officer, Dawson said it's sometimes hard to hire new recruits.

"It's hard to ask people to come to our profession and take the pay you're gonna get," Dawson said.

But, for many officers, it's not about the pay, but about their love for their job.

"I think for the most part, police officers wake up and look forward to the day," Dawson said. "They're not dreading having to work. They enjoye it so that does factor in when you're looking at the pay. If you didn't like it, why would you do it for that amount of pay?"

According to the study, officers in Central Arkansas are the highest paid in the state.

Mississippi ranks #1 on the list for worst paid state in law enforcement.

For the full list and more information about the study, visit the Law Officer website. 

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