It’s a sad yet interesting paradox in many towns in New Jersey, as well as in the country. Towns with the biggest crime problems are the ones in which cops get paid the least.

It seems counterintuitive that in many cases the towns with the highest payrolls for police officers are also the ones with the lowest crime statistics. After all, shouldn’t police officers’ salaries be proportionate to the amount of risk their lives are in?

Of course, that’s not the way life works, because cops basically get paid what their town can afford to pay them. And sometimes in more upscale neighborhoods with higher per capita incomes, they can afford to pay more for their public services.

Ridgewood police vehicle
Ridgewood police vehicle (Ridgewood police)
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In New Jersey, that generally means that Bergen County's cops earn the most.

So how much do New Jersey police officers actually earn? And who earns the most and the least in all of New Jersey’s towns?

I took a look at NJ.com’s database to check out salaries, overtime and outside job payments for 24,000 officers. Some of the results are very telling. See the full database here.

It’s a really interesting database that reflects the state average for a police officer's yearly salary being $99,071 and the average additional pay at $24,162. This, of course, brings the total yearly pay average for New Jersey cops to $124,233. But there’s a huge disparity among counties.

For instance, yearly salaries range from the high, Northvale in Bergen County, at $182,606 a year, to Hi-Nella, a small enclave of less than 1,000 residents in Camden County, where officers make only $28,789 a year. Hi-Nella, a suburb of Philadelphia, has a crime rate that tends to be higher than average in New Jersey.

(Trenton Police via Facebook) 90 year old man shot killed neighbor 2021
(Trenton Police via Facebook)
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Not surprisingly, Bergen County suburbs like Cresskill, Alpine, and Upper Saddle River, the homes of many sports stars, celebs, and CEOs, routinely pay their cops in the high six figures, like $170s and $180s.

Somewhere in the middle lies the salaries of Monmouth, Middlesex, and Ocean County police officers, which range from around the $120s to the $140s.

On the other hand, South Jersey’s cops, like those in Camden and Burlington County, don’t fare as well.

Their salaries tend to range from the $30s to $80-something thousand per year. Then again, the cost of living tends to be cheaper the further south you go in New Jersey.

It’s interesting to see how much the men in blue near you are being paid for what they do to serve and protect in your NJ community. Do you think they’re getting paid enough?

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco only.

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