(Source: www.forbes.com)

Being a police officer is not easy: for a less than stellar wage, you are asked to help everyone else with their problems, forced to put yourself in potentially harmful positions every day, and end your shifts carrying with you the stress of one of the toughest jobs the public sector has to offer.

But being a cop is different depending on where you do the job—some places offer better opportunities and protections and way of life than others, for the girls and boys in blue. A recent study by WalletHub – a personal finance information company – highlights states in the U.S. that offer great environments for police officers—and some states that do not.

For a look at the ten best states in which to be a police officer, check out our slideshow below.

Topping the list of best states for cops is North Dakota. What makes that state such an attractive place for officers of the law? The state ranked #1 in quality of life – an indication of things like housing costs public image of law enforcement and a state’s attributes as a place to raise a family. It also ranked #6 among all states in the job hazards & protections category, and ranked #12 for job opportunities and competition, so its easier to find work, salaries are good and salary growth potential is positive.

In second place we find Connecticut. Though the Nutmeg State only ranked #31 in the category of job opportunity and competition, it ranked #1 in the job hazards category, meaning it’s a relatively safe place to be a police officer. Connecticut ranked 10th on the quality of life category.

Among the least hospitable states for police officers, the lowest ranking was Louisiana. It ranked 33rd in the opportunities and competition category, and that was the high point of its results: the state ranked 49th in both the hazards and protections and quality of life categories. For a look at the bottom-ten, check out the list below.

worst-states-police

According to WalletHub’s research, the states with the highest median income for police officers is Illinois, followed by New Jersey, Michigan, Delaware and Alaska. The lowest median income is paid in South Carolina, followed by Arkansas, Louisiana, Maine and Georgia.

The lowest violent crime rates are enjoyed in (in order) Vermont, Maine, Virginia, New Hampshire and Idaho. The highest violent crime rates are in Washington D.C., Alaska, Nevada, New Mexico and Tennessee.

The states that have the highest police protection expenses are Alaska and Washington D.C. (tied for first), followed by New York, Maryland and California. The lowest expenses are in Kentucky, followed by Indiana, Maine, West Virginia and South Dakota.

Methodology

In compiling its lists, WalletHub compared all 50 states and Washington D.C. across 20 metrics that fall within the categories of Opportunity & Competition (weighted at 40 points), Job Hazards & Protections (40 points), and Quality of Life (20 points). Opportunity & Competition encompasses factors such as salary, numbers of officers per capita, salary growth, etc. Job Hazards & Protections refers to issues like deaths rate of officers, 911 calls delivered and violent crime rate, among others. Quality of Life refers to housing costs, public image of law enforcement based on Twitter data, and a state’s attributes as a place to raise a family or meet others socially.

Data was sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Projections Central State Occupational Projections, Council for Community and Economic Research, as well as other organizations.

More Info: www.forbes.com

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