LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) – A study looking at the best and worst states for police officers found Kentucky in the bottom 10.

Wallethub analyzed issues such as opportunity and competition, training requirements, and hazards and protection.

Kentucky’s law enforcement training requirements were about middle of the road with the study ranking them 29th out of 51.

Of the other two rankings, opportunity and competition came in at 40th and job hazards and protections at 42nd.

All of Kentucky’s neighbors ranked higher with the exception of West Virginia which came in at 48th overall. Illinois and Ohio both ranked in the top 10, with Tennessee just outside at 14th.

Illinois took the third spot in the company of places like Connecticut (first), California (second), D.C (fourth), and Maryland (fifth).

Source: WalletHub

The study did find one major positive for Kentucky: it had the third-highest median income growth for Law-enforcement officers from 2019 to 2020.

Kentucky does have a couple of key places to look at for improvement. Kentucky is among the five states with the fewest law-enforcement officers per capita as well as the lowest state and local police-protection expenses per capita.

Government officials have been at work to improve the lives of officers in the Commonwealth and aid in recruitment. A recent effort was the signing of HB 259 by Gov. Andy Beshear giving Kentucky State troopers a $15,000 raise.

Ten experts were asked about the results of the study focusing on issues such as the outlook of the career and how to address the issues facing the police force, the full responses are available here.

“As an optimist, I am inclined to think it is always darkest before dawn. I think the field and the profession will continue to evolve as our society evolves. Law enforcement organizations are learning organizations – but at times and in many communities/jurisdictions they can be lagging organizations – failing to learn from past lived experiences of residents in a timely manner and make the needed changes to policies and practices. It will take a sustained and concerted effort by community residents coupled with law enforcement professionals and policymakers to co-create the needed policies and practices to improve the field and enhance community wellbeing.”

Brian N. Williams, Frank Batten School of Leadership & Public Policy – The University of Virginia

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