NORWICH, Conn. (WTNH) — A new study ranks Connecticut as the best place in the United States to be a police officer.
The personal finance website WalletHub.com released its report of 2022′s Best & Worst States to be a Police Officer — ranking Connecticut as the best state and Arkansas as the worst.
Liz Harsley has been with the department for nine years. Harsley and Sen. Cathy Osten (D – Sprague) weighed in on the report on Monday.
Harsley just returned from Police Week in Washington, DC, so she has a pretty good perspective on what it’s like to be a police officer in Connecticut compared to other parts of the country. She agrees with the study, especially regarding pay and training. Officers in Norwich could handle an initial crime scene investigation if a detective wasn’t on duty.
“Sometimes you talk to guys from other departments from other places in the country, and they’re like, ‘oh, I just show up, and I block the road, you know.’”
When Sgt. Nicholas Rankin took his agility test years ago, 200 people were vying for two positions.
Recently, “we had four people come, and all of them failed,” Rankin said.
The department now has nine openings, and it is stepping up its recruitment efforts. A local artist created this poster to help with that.
“I don’t know if it’s going to speak to the local job market, or people that are looking or not, but it speaks to us, and it’s nice to see officers portrayed as superheroes again,” Rankin said.
“It’s a noble job, a noble profession,” Chief Patrick Daley said. “The pay and benefits are good and competitive, and it’s a career job.”
“Everybody is understaffed,” Harsley said.
Norwich is hoping this new national ranking will help change that for Connecticut. As for the state’s police accountability law, which passed a couple of years ago, the chief says police had no concerns with 42 of the 45 sections, and lawmakers have listened to their concerns.
“Those areas where we needed to make changes, we have been tweaking those changes,” Osten said.
WalletHub said it compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 30 indicators of “police friendliness,” including median income for law enforcement officers, police deaths per 1,000 officers to the state, and local police protection expenses per capita.
California ranked second overall, followed by Illinois, the District of Columbia, and Maryland.
The worst states, according to the report, were Alaska, Hawaii, Arkansas, West Virginia, and Mississippi.
Click here to view the complete report on WalletHub’s website.