Police chiefs in Snohomish County are paid about $80,000 to $150,000 a year. Compensation varies by community, but in general, the larger the city, the more police officers, the bigger the check. Those heading the local cop shops must balance the interests of the public, the police and politics.
Police chief salaries are market-driven, said Mitch Barker, executive director of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs.
Chief salaries are based on a community’s size and expectations, he said. At smaller departments, chiefs might go on patrol. They respond to 911 calls and make arrests. In bigger cities, a chief’s job may be more administrative.
Police chiefs are public figures. They must be able to navigate municipal politics and understand labor laws, Barker said. Most are at-will employees, meaning they can be dismissed without cause. Turnover is high.
Police chiefs must work with elected officials, including mayors and city councils. They must be available to answer questions and find solutions, Barker said.
Communities — and their police departments — have become more diverse. More police officers have college degrees. Camera phones and social media means officers’ actions increasingly are subject to scrutiny. Budgets are strapped, and training standards more stringent.
Most chiefs work more than full-time and can’t draw overtime, Barker said. They’re on call 24-7, especially when there’s a tragedy in the community.
“It’s a tough job,” he said. “It’s very difficult. It’s very demanding.”
|Arlington Police||Nelson Beazley||24||$120,694||$15,439|
|Brier Police||Donald Lane||7||$94,395||$9,300|
|Bothell Police||Carol Cummings||58||$145,752||$20,985|
|Edmonds Police||Al Compaan||52||$148,859||$8,439|
|Everett Police||Kathy Atwood||190||$143,496||$11,916|
|Granite Falls Police||Dennis Taylor||7||$86,000||$15,890|
|Island County Sheriff’s Office||Mark Brown||33||$86,362||$23,488**|
|Lake Stevens Police||Randy Celori||27||$121,512||$15,375|
|Lynnwood Police||Steve Jensen||71||$146,661||$8,267|
|Marysville Police||Rick Smith||53||$150,816||$22,214|
|Mill Creek Police||Bob Crannell||23||$125,294||$20,609|
|Monroe Police||Tim Quenzer||31||$125,688||$17,692|
|Mountlake Terrace Police||Greg Wilson||28||$122,400||$15,063|
|Mukilteo Police||Rex Caldwell||28||$109,395||$22,089|
|Snohomish*||Lt. John Flood||20||$102,219||$13,750|
|Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office||John Lovick||261||$121,061||$13,750|
|Stanwood*||Lt. Richard Hawkins||11||$102,219||$13,750|
|Sultan*||Lt. Jeff Brand||8||$102,219||$13,750|
*Contracts or partners with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office for police services. Contract communities’ deputies are included in the sheriff’s office total.
**Includes all benefits. ICSO was unable to break out medical benefits.
Notes: Numbers of commissioned officers were self-reported to the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs for 2011. Woodway has a part-time police chief. Tribal police departments not included. Darrington, Index and Gold Bar contract with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office and do not have a designated chief. Medical benefits vary by number of dependents.
• Fire chief salaries: www.heraldnet.com/firechiefsalaries
• Mayor salaries: www.heraldnet.com/mayorsalaries
• County employee salaries: http://www.heraldnet.com/countysalaries
• WASPC home page: www.waspc.org/
• Crime in Washington, 2011 Annual Report: www.waspc.org/files.php?bfid=2626 (PDF download) Includes number of officers per agency.