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BY KARISSA SCHUMACKER, THE BADGER PROJECT

Across Wisconsin, law enforcement agencies offer varying starting salaries and benefits for those interested in attending police academy and becoming a law enforcement officer. The total number of law enforcement officers and the total number of police academy graduates in Wisconsin are both at — at least — a ten-year low. Recruiting and retaining officers has become more difficult, making it an employee’s market.

Here is a smattering of what law enforcement agencies in Wisconsin are paying new recruits.

City of Milwaukee

In the City of Milwaukee, future officers are able to attend paid police academy on a bi-weekly wage of $1,723. After graduation, Milwaukee officers receive a starting annual salary of $59,898. The city offers textbook and tuition reimbursement up to $1,500 a year and a full pension after 25 years of service.

Green Bay 

Police Officers employed by Green Bay earn a starting salary between $54,262- $66,742.26. The city also offers a benefit package for all of its city employees, including a family savings plan, deferred compensation, flexible spending accounts, access to mental health care, and other health programs. 

Madison 

The Madison Police Department offers a starting salary of $56,472 with a raise to $62,782 after six months. Officers are eligible for benefits including pet insurance, a 37.5 hour work week, educational incentives after 42 months and a pension. 

La Crosse

Officers serving on the La Crosse unit receive an annual base pay of $56,000 to $70,000. The city also offers benefits including up to six weeks of paid vacation, up to 120 days of sick leave and education incentives. 

Eau Claire

The average hourly wage for officers in the City of Eau Claire ranges from $22.93 to $33.53, a salary of about $48,000- $70,000. Cadets at this department are offered an hourly salary of $22.37 while attending academy. 

Kenosha 

The City of Kenosha offers a starting annual wage between $62,000 and $77,000 to their police officers. Kenosha provides a Duty-Related Death Benefit of a lump sum equivalent to one year of the affected officer’s salary. Other benefits included deferred compensation, tuition reimbursement of up to $3,000 per year and a health savings account. 

Mequon

The position as a police officer in the City of Mequon offers a starting wage of $60,000. Mequon offers a complete benefits package, as well as compensation for those attending police academy. 

McFarland

The McFarland Police Department offers a monthly wage between $3,600- $4,700, which is about $44,000- $57,000 annually. McFarland officers are allowed a take-home vehicle, a uniform allowance and educational reimbursement. 

Milwaukee County House of Correction

A correctional officer for the Milwaukee County House of Correction earns a starting salary of about $20-$23 per hour. Correctional officers are often lower-paid, entry-level positions in the law enforcement field.

Waukesha County

The starting wage for a new sheriff at the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department is about $26 per hour, or about $54,000 per year. Members of this department are allotted up to $800 for an initial uniform allowance as well as eight hours of sick leave per month. 

Rock County 

New hires at the Rock County Police Department receive a starting hourly wage of about $25.00, an annual salary around $53,000. Rock County will fully reimburse tuition and book expenses for officers pursuing degrees related to police science or criminal justice. Members of the police department who have earned their bachelor’s degree will be paid an additional incentive of $125 a month, and $50 a month for those who have achieved their associate’s degree.

Dane County 

The Dane County Sheriff’s Office pays between $46,546- $70,549 annually for their Deputy Sheriff position. Benefits as a Deputy Sheriff in Dane County include a clothing allowance, longevity pay, education incentive pay and a post-employment health plan. 

Chippewa Falls 

The base starting salary for officers at Chippewa Falls is about $52,000 annually. Officers have access to the Wisconsin Retirement Fund, shift differential pay, education incentive as well as a clothing incentive. 

Douglas County 

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Department pays part-time deputies working on-call an hourly wage of about $21. Part-time jailers receive about $16 per hour. 

Mohican Nation Tribal Police Department 

The position of tribal officer in the Stockbridge Munsee Community near Shawano is paid an hourly wage of about $26.


The Badger Project is a nonpartisan, citizen-supported journalism nonprofit in Wisconsin.

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