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Are Police Officers in New Jersey Paid Appropriately?

The pay is better in well-off suburban towns than it is in cities where crime is a problem

The median salary for roughly 19,000 municipal police officers in New Jersey was just over $105,000 in 2016. That’s according to new analysis of state treasury data by NJTV News and others.

The highest-paid officers tend to work in wealthy, suburban towns, such as in Bergen County where the cost of living is higher. But many factors are involved in determining salary, said Paramus Borough Mayor Richard LaBarbiera. Among the considerations, he said, are “how many years of service on average that police department has for their officers … So it is a complicated analysis and I don’t think it’s fair just with one broad brush to judge.” Paramus officers had the sixth highest median salary in the state, at just over $142,000.

The salaries surveyed in the data were of municipal officers who averaged more than 18 years on the job, meaning they reached top pay.

According to the League of Municipalities, the 2 percent cap placed on municipal budgets in 2011 has kept salary growth at bay. But Charlie Schwartz of the State Policemen’s Benevolent Association said it has had a negative effect on recruitment. “The guys that are out there looking to become officers are seeing … that the raises are under 2 percent, the contributions to health care averaging over $1,000 a month out of the officer’s paycheck, the pension costs have gone from 8.5 percent to 10 percent,” Schwartz said.

Read the full story on NJTV New Online, a content partner of NJ Spotlight.

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