How Much Money Do SWAT Police Earn
Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams are comprised of specially trained police officers who are sent into high-risk situations. In most instances, the wages of SWAT team members are the same as salaries for regular police officers. However, police departments typically pay a monthly or annual pay differential to members of the SWAT team.
SWAT team officers are skilled marksmen trained to shoot long range targets with pinpoint accuracy. Trained snipers are also tasked with detecting and neutralizing threats posed to political figures at conventions and special events. These professionals often accompany regular patrol officers during confrontations involving organized crime figures or suspected terrorists. Most SWAT police are taught crowd control techniques to be used during riots or civil unrest. SWAT teams usually include negotiators who are tasked with resolving situations.
According to a 2011 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, police officers, including SWAT team members, have an average base salary of $56,260 a year. Police officers in New Jersey are the highest paid in the nation with average salaries of $81,970. Among metropolitan areas, the highest wages are paid to police officers in the Los Angeles, Glendale and Long Beach area of California. These officers earn an average annual salary of $85,620.
Most police officers work for state and local law enforcement agencies. The budgets and pay structures of police departments vary, as do the payments made to SWAT team members. In Brownsville, Texas, SWAT team members receive a flat annual fee of $650 in addition to their base salaries. In Albuquerque, N.M., SWAT officers receive a $50 monthly payment that amounts to $600 a year in additional pay. In Riverside, Calif., full-time SWAT officers receive an additional payment that is equal to 3 percent of their base salaries.
Members of the SWAT team can potentially generate extra income by taking on additional responsibilities. In Round Rock, Texas and in Albuquerque, negotiators receive an annual payment of $600. Many SWAT team members provide firearms training to other officers, and a police officer in Round Rock can earn an additional $2,400, per year for working as a trainer. SWAT officers can further boost their pay if they are bilingual, are trained to defuse, or agree to work night shifts or special assignments.