Tennessee Ranks As One of Worst States in Which to be a Law Enforcement Officer


Tennessee is near the bottom of the list when it comes to best states to be a police officer, according to a new ranking.

Tennessee is 45 of 51 (including Washington, D.C.) of top states in which to be a policeman, according to a ranking by WalletHub.

In the past decade, over 1,500 police officers, including 158 in 2018, died in the line of duty. Tens of thousands more were assaulted and injured.

Tennessee was No. 31 for opportunity and competition, 39 for job hazards and protections, and 47 for quality of life, according to WalletHub. Those dimensions were evaluated using 27metrics on a 100-point scale. A 100 is the most favorable condition.

Regarding the ranking, Nashville mayoral candidate Carol Swain said in a statement, “A new independent study out today ranks Tennessee one of the worst states in the country to be a police officer. Nashville residents continue to face serious crime that threatens our personal safety and harms local businesses, yet Mayor Briley’s administration has hung our first responders out to dry, with police and fire departments that are understaffed, overworked, and underpaid. Nashville can do better!”

James Smallwood, president of the Nashville Fraternal Order of Police, spoke to NewsChannel 5 about the ranking.

“A recent study came out and said it costs $80,000 for someone to live in Nashville. But you start off with an entry level of making #39,000 (sic) a year. Even with 6.4 percent increase no where near to live comfortably in city of Nashville,” said Smallwood.

In March, Swain addressed the issue of low morale for Nashville police, blaming low pay and current Police Chief Steve Anderson, according to a story by The Tennessee Star.

“When it comes to the police problems, one of the things is that police don’t get a say in the selection of the police chief,” Swain told The Tennessee Star this week.

“I think it is important that when the next police chief is selected that some representatives of the police department sit on that committee (to choose the chief) and the police officers themselves get an opportunity to decide who will sit on that committee. (They decide) who their representatives will be.”

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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.
Background Photo “Nashville Police Car” by Josh Beasley.  CC BY 2.0.







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2 Thoughts to “Tennessee Ranks As One of Worst States in Which to be a Law Enforcement Officer”

  1. Eri

    $80k a year is inaccurate. I live comfortably for much less.

  2. Cannoneer2

    No surprise here! The politicians in charge here in Tennessee are quite content to keep a 45th place ranking or thereabouts for most state and local level government jobs. ( Accountants, firemen, police, engineers , scientists, etc.). Just don’t expect that same reasoning to apply to Commissioners, Assistant Commissioners, Governor’s staff, legislative staff and the like. Gotta be Number 1 in that regard!