California, other states with strong 'Defund the Police' movements ranked best to be a cop, new study claims
WalletHub's "2023's Best & Worst States to Be a Police Officer" is out and suggests that states known for initiatives to "Defund the Police" are the best states to be a police officer.
Including Washington D.C, the top ten states, in ascending order, are; California, D.C, Connecticut, Maryland, Illinois, Ohio, Colorado, Washington, New York, and Massachusetts.
The bottom ten states, in descending order, are; Oregon, South Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Nevada, Kentucky, West Virginia, Alaska, and Arkansas.
Texas came in at 13, Pennsylvania at 14, Michigan at 17, and Florida at 24.
The study selected three categories when making its rankings; opportunity and competition, training requirements, and job hazards and protections.
The categories consider a broad spectrum of factors including salary, training requirements, deaths per capita, education prerequisites, and income growth potentials.
The states listed as best to be an officer in have been hotbeds of "Defund the Police" efforts from progressive politicians and activists in recent years. Los Angeles slashed $150 million from the budget and San Francisco stated police would no longer respond to non-emergency calls. San Francisco eventually reversed this decision to combat a crime wave and the Los Angeles Police Protective League said then-Mayor Eric Garcetti's decision was the "quickest way to make our neighborhoods more dangerous." California was ranked as the best state for law enforcement.
Academics' opinions of police officers and their priorities seem to factor strongly in the Wallethub study. "First, they need to do the challenging but important work of determining if there are racial disparities in their communities. If so, those need to be addressed with urgency," Dr. Ed Maguire, Professor of Criminology at Arizona State University, told Wallethub when asked about police communication efforts.
"More generally, police need to invest in evidence-based training and policies on communicating with these communities, engaging in genuine dialogue in which police leaders listen to the perspectives of people in these communities to understand their view of policing. In some cases, minority communities feel both under-protected and over-policed."
New York City, under Bill de Blasio, cut nearly $1 billion from their budget with the Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York claiming the mayor has "blood on his hands." In the 2021 mayoral primary, candidates who focused on "Defund the Police" lost and Eric Adams, who promised to increase policing, won. New York was ranked 9th best for law enforcement.
A factor not discussed in the study is the effect "Defund the Police" has had on morale and police departments' ability to hire and retain officers. According to a study conducted by the Police Executive Research Forum, states WalletHub place high on their list have had a disproportionate;y hard time retaining police.
The 2020-2021 year saw an 18% increase in resignations and a 45% increase in the retirement rate. Seattle lost over 200 officers between 2020-2021 and Chief Medaria Arradondo of Minneapolis has said his staffing woes are so bad police have been relegating to "responding to 911 calls" as opposed to proactive policing.
Washington saw a crime increase of 55%, Minnesota an increase of 55%, and WalletHub put them in the 8th and 11th spot respectively, well above states with much lower increases like Texas, Florida, and Ohio.
Additionally, the average law enforcement salary in California is $68,700 compared to Texas' $61,200. Taking into account cost of living and median salary, $78,692 in California to $57,382 in Texas respectively, California officers live well below the median line while Texas officers are slightly above the median. Texas was listed as the 13th-best state for law enforcement, twelve places behind top-ranked California.