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Police Superintendent Payscale

Updated on June 19, 2013

© 2013 by Aurelio Locsin.

The term police superintendent is generally used in the United Kingdom and British Commonwealth countries to designate senior or managing law enforcement officials. In the United States, it is equivalent to police supervisors or other law enforcement ranks who oversee subordinate officers. Their pay depends on the employing agency and location of the job.



Police superintendents in the United States earned a mean $82,060 per year, or $39.45 per hour, as of May 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • However, pay for the lowest earning 10 percent could fall below $47,240 annually, or $22.71 hourly, and could rise above an annual $125,620 per year, or $60.39 per hour, for the top earners.
  • Compare these amounts to the average $43,050 per year, or $20.70 per hour, earned by protective service workers, and the mean $57,770 yearly, or $27.78 hourly received by police patrol officers.
  • Superintendents made more than the average $45,790 yearly, or $22.01 hourly, paid to the average American worker.


The biggest employer of police superintendents was local government, with 78,420 out of the total 99,860 positions, and mean wages of $79,490 per year, or $38.22 per hour.

  • State government was next with 12,430 jobs, and then the federal government with 6,530 professionals.
  • The federal government was also the highest paying employer at a mean $116,400 yearly, or $55.96 hourly, followed by the Postal Service, averaging $82,770 per year, or $39.80 per hour.
  • Ranking third for pay was state government at a mean annual $82,580, or $39.70 hourly.


The state with the most job opportunities for police superintendents was New York, with 12,710 positions earning a mean $101,180 per year, or $48.64 per hour.

  • Other high employment states were Illinois, Texas, Georgia and North Carolina..
  • The state with the best salaries for the profession was California, averaging $123,860 yearly, or $59.55 hourly.
  • In urban areas, New York City showed the most jobs, with 8,600 averaging $108,340 yearly, or $52.09 hourly..
  • Other cities with good employment were Chicago, Washington DC, Boston, Atlanta and Baltimore.
  • The city boasting the highest salaries was Oakland, California, at a mean $136,990 per year, or $65.86 per hour. Santa Ana, California, was next, averaging an annual $136,200, or $65.48. Oxnard, California ranked third, with mean compensation at $135,220 yearly, or $65.01 per hour.


Because police officers are law enforcement officials, they are empowered to make arrests. However, their duties primarily revolve around managing subordinates rather than interacting with suspects and the public. They do the following:

  • Train staff and assign them tasks, resolve personnel issues and ensure that correct legal procedures are followed with investigations, arrests and the treatment of suspects.
  • Monitor officer performance, promote worthy individuals, and engage in disciplinary procedures when needed.
  • Maintain activity logs, prepare reports when requested by superiors and testify in court.
  • Deal with requests for information from the public, other law enforcement agencies and local government.
  • Discipline subordinates for violating department rules and local government regulations.
  • Ensure that staff meet the standards and ethics required for law enforcement work.


Police superintendents start as regular police officers, which requires a minimum high-school diploma and training at a police academy. They then need several years of experience on the job that shows increasing responsibility, preferably in a management capacity. Many employers also want candidates who have at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university.


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    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      This salary varies quite a bit, and even at top earning it's just not enough for all the responsibilities of a police superintendent. Interesting--thanks!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Very interesting to see them being paid well. Voted up.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      This pays more than I would have imagined, but then they have a big responsibility. Thanks for the information which I found quite interesting.

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 5 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      It's a job that pays well but before getting to that level people have to be police officers they have to interact with sometimes not so nice people. I can't imagine the stress police officers must endure in their work! I think I will stick to be an artist :-)