Frequently Asked Questions

Entry Level Officer Program

You must be at least 21 years of age, a United States citizen, have a valid driver’s license, and have completed 60 college credits; or you must have 2 years of active duty military with an honorable discharge (if applicable); or you must have 3 years of prior police (full service department) experience.

No,  however, under current DC law, a sworn officer has to retire at 64 years of age.

The starting salary is $55,362 per year.  You will receive this on your first day of employment while in the academy.  After successful completion of the 18 month probationary period, members earn $60,571.

You will begin earning your full salary upon entering the Academy.

MPD does not provide travel reimbursement for traveling to mass processing, polygraph examination or the medical/psychological evaluation.

There is no cost to apply. However, each applicant is responsible for paying $49 to take the Frontline National written multiple-choice examination. 

Effective June 24, 2016, any new MPD applicant who takes the FrontLine National Exam receives:

  • Total cost reimbursement within 30 days if they are residents of the District of Columbia.
  • $25 reimbursement within 30 days regardless to where you live, when you take the exam at any of the four testing locations in the District of Columbia.

If you cannot afford to pay for the entry-level exam you may complete and submit a Hardship Voucher Form. The test is available throughout the country thus minimizing the need to travel to Washington, DC to take an assessment.    

No.

Sworn members are eligible for retirement after 25 years of service with MPD at any age.

Yes, MPD has a language stipend program. Upon successfully passing a foreign language test that emphasizes conversation skills, you will receive a language stipend of $50 per pay period or $1,300 per year in additional pay. This can be earned while you are in the academy.

Yes you may seek reimbursement up to $800 per semester, with a maximum allowance of $2,400 per academic year.  Further, you must maintain a C average.  You can begin receiving this benefit upon hire.

No, MPD will conduct its own background investigation whether you have a clearance or not.

Yes, tattoos that are offensive cannot be visible to the public.

Please see the list of automatic disqualifiers to see what arrests would make you ineligible if not expunged.  Further, it is recommended that an applicant have any arrest expunged before moving forward in the application process. 

All applicants are encouraged to give a complete, accurate and truthful history of drug usage.  The Department considers the date and frequency of last usage.  No usage of Marijuana within two years of application or five years for any other drug substance is permitted including prescription medicine without a valid prescription.

You may be eligible through our Experienced Officer Program.

Yes, you can still begin the process.  However, the DD-214 must be provided to the Recruiting Division before you can be hired.

Although there is no way to predict the actual length of time the application process may take, we recommend applying three months prior to the end of your active duty.

Yes, when scheduled for military training you will be requested to present a copy of your orders to your commanding official(s).  Please keep in mind that any commitment that you must fulfill during your time in the academy would cause you to be placed with a different academy class other than the one you started with upon your return from service.

No, MPD does not offer relocation incentives.

Males: less than 30% at mass processing and 28% at medical.

Females: less than 36% at mass processing and 34% at medical.

No, there are no restrictions on residency preferences.  MPD police officers live wherever they want. Each MPD officer is responsible for reporting to work on time regardless of where they live. There are many benefits to living in the District of Columbia - from the wonderful neighborhoods, nightlife, restaurants, recreation areas and events throughout the city, living in the District has many benefits.

You will be required to visit the Washington metropolitan area approximately three times.  Those times will be for Mass Applicant Processing Day, polygraph testing, and the psychological/medical evaluation.

The entire selection process may take up to six months but this estimated time depends on various factors: 

  • the number of times an applicant has moved,
  • the number of different states an applicant has lived in, or
  • a lengthy work history. 

Your response to requests from your background investigator in meeting any deadlines or appointments will also play a role in how long the process will take.

We require that you bring the requested documents with you for mass processing.  If you are unable to obtain a copy of your official college transcript we ask that you bring an unofficial copy with you and provide the original within 10 days of completing mass processing.  If you have any expungements, those documents must be provided on the date of mass processing.

The written examination is part of the FrontLine Testing System which includes: a video-based human relations test, a reading ability test and a report writing test. Testing takes approximately two hours.

The academy is located at 4665 Blue Plains Drive SW, Washington, DC.

Academy classes are held monthly. 

The MPD Academy is not residential; however, recruit officers may live at a temporary residential housing facility, while transitioning to Washington D.C.  Additionally, the MPD Recruit Rental Assistance Program is designed to assist new police officers in their transition to working and living in the communities they serve in Washington, D.C. Eligible MPD recruits who sign up between October 2017 and March 2018 will receive rental assistance of $1,000 per month for six months, for properties in DC.  For more information, please click here.

MPD's Academy includes approximately 24 weeks of intensive academic and physical skills training. This includes two weeks of firearms training, one week of civil disturbance training, one week of vehicle skills training, and officer survival skills training.

No, we will equip you with the skills and training that you need to graduate from the academy.

At the conclusion of your academy training, you will be assigned to one of the seven patrol districts.  You will be provided an opportunity to request the district you would like to go to, but the final decision will be based on the needs of the department.

Each specialized unit has different requirements including the length of time in the department.  For example, to be eligible for detective, you must have three years of patrol experience, but to become a sergeant, you must have five years before taking the promotional exam. Constant hard work and dedication to the job along with a high degree of self-motivation will serve those who seek promotion. 
  

Experienced Level Officer Program

Each hire will have to complete 25 years or until the compulsory retirement age of 64.

You will be given an opportunity to submit prior federal/district government time for service and leave. 

No college credits are given; however, some officers may take their credits to academic institutions and have them evaluated for credit.

Each unit has different requirements, all entry level and experienced officers must successfully complete the 18-month probationary period before being considered for other specialized units.

No, you will only be able to qualify and carry an MPD approved sidearm, on or off duty. The Metropolitan Police Department currently utilizes the Glock service pistol. 

No, the starting salary for entry-level and experienced police officers is set at $55,362.

No, all graduates from the MPD Police Academy will be assigned to locations in the city based on the operational needs of the Department.

Not at this time.

No credit will be given from prior service time toward retirement.  Prior military and/or Federal service may be purchased for the purpose of retention of credit for retirement calculation purposes after successful completion of the 25 years of service.

Not at this time.

No, the experienced officer program curriculum is an abbreviated 11 week transition program at the training academy.

Volunteer Officer (Reserve/Auxiliary)

Ordinarily, the Metropolitan Police Department starts a Reserve Police Academy and Auxiliary Police Academy each spring.  Depending on the number of applicants, a fall class may also be started. If you are considering joining the Department as a Reserve Police Officer submit an interest card to learn more and begin the application process.

Both Reserve Police Officers and Auxiliary Officers are volunteers.  Members of the Reserve Corps serve in patrol-related capacities, typically are armed members and are expected to volunteer at least 24 hours per month.  Auxiliary officers are unarmed members that support stations, cell blocks and work events and details (e.g., parades, sporting events), and are expected to volunteer at least 16 hours per month.  

There are no formal expenses to join the Reserve Corps or Auxiliary Corps. All initial application costs are covered by the Department. During training all required uniform and equipment items are furnished to each member at no cost (except for under garments and boots).  Upon graduation from the training academy there are no further costs. The Department does not reimburse members for travel to and from their duty assignments; however, while on duty the Department covers all costs associated with a member’s volunteer service.

In the unexpected and unfortunate case a Reserve Corps member is injured in the line of duty, all Reserve Corps members are covered by the District of Columbia’s workman’s compensation program.

The Reserve Corps is a volunteer organization. Upon completion of the intensive training and field training programs, armed members are expected to volunteer at least 24 hours per month.  Unarmed members are expected to volunteer at least 16 hours per month.  Many of our volunteers go well above and beyond the minimum expectations as they enjoy providing voluntary service to the Washington, DC community.

There are no formal expenses to join the Reserve Corps. All initial application costs are covered by the Department. During training all required uniform and equipment items are furnished to each member at no cost (except for under garments and boots).  Upon graduation from the training academy there are no further costs. The Department does not reimburse members for travel to and from their duty assignments; however, while on duty the Department covers all costs associated with a member’s volunteer service.

Yes.  As a sworn police officer in the District of Columbia, you are required to comply with all mandatory court appearances (i.e., papering, preliminary hearings, and trials). Each applicant should consider their full time employment when deciding whether the Reserve Corps is right for them.  

Reserve Corps members are issued identical equipment to their career service counterparts.

Yes. Reserve Corps officers are fully trained sworn police officers in the District of Columbia.  

The Reserve Corps maintains a positive culture dedicated to volunteer service. Members contribute considerable portions of their time to help strengthen the police department and the Washington, DC community.  The best way to understand the Reserve Corps’ culture is to come to a New Candidate Orientation or do a ride-along with one of our 80+ members.   

Each Reserve Corps member can request their top three police district preferences at the time of graduation.  Although consideration is given to each member’s preference, ultimately the location of assignment is determined by the Department based upon operational needs. 

The Auxiliary Corps is a volunteer organization. Upon completion of the intensive training and field training programs, members are expected to volunteer at least 16 hours per month.  Many of our volunteers go well above and beyond the minimum expectations as they enjoy providing voluntary service to the Washington, DC community.

There are no formal expenses to join the Auxiliary Corps. All initial application costs are covered by the Department. During training all required uniform and equipment items are furnished to each member at no cost (except for under garments and boots).  Upon graduation from the training academy there are no further costs. The Department does not reimburse members for travel to and from their duty assignments; however, while on duty, the Department covers all costs associated with a member’s volunteer service.

Auxiliary Corps members are issued similar equipment to their career service counterparts however wear a distinguishable patch and badge identifying them as an Auxiliary Officer.

Yes, Auxiliary Corps officers are able to drive MPD vehicles; however, do not utilize emergency equipment or respond to calls for service.

Each Auxiliary Corps member can request their top three police district preferences at time of graduation.  Although consideration is given to each member’s preference, ultimately, the location of assignment is determined by the Department based upon operational needs. 

Collegiate Internship Program

Collegiate Interns with MPD receive excellent hands on training and experience.  Supervisors at MPD are invested in each student's professional development and ensure a wide range of opportunities, both at the placement location or otherwise, are made available to the student.

No, the internship is not paid, but you gain valuable professional experiences.

Many past interns have received academic credit for completing the internship. All arrangements must be made through your academic institution, and the MPD is happy to provide any required documentation once selected for the internship.

Certain intern placements are only accessible by car. However, many of our interns do not have cars and are able to utilize the Metro system. Whether you have a car will be taken into consideration when you are being placed to ensure you can access the placement location.

Residency is not required, students from around the country relocate to the DC area for a semester or the summer to participate in the internship program. Interns will be responsible for their own housing arrangements.

Each assignment comes with different tasks and responsibilities. Visit the Collegiate Intern and Citizen Volunteer Placement page to view the many options.

Absolutely, interns are encouraged to participate in ride-alongs to gain first-hand policing experience. These ride-alongs count as hours worked. Interns will also be asked to participate in and assist with training at the Metropolitan Police Academy and will have lunch with various high-ranking members of the department.

In addition to daily intern duties, intern supervisors are often happy to accommodate each intern’s interests and expose them to a variety of units within the department. Past interns have been able to participate in training at the Metropolitan Police Academy, conduct informational interviews with various members of the department, participate in field trips with recruit officers, and even ride along with MPD's Harbor Patrol Unit.

It is important to note that interns assist members of the department and do not perform law-enforcement duties. Certain placements are more hands-on than others. In addition to our internship program, feel free to consider our other volunteer opportunities, including auxiliary corps, reserve officer, and citizen volunteers.

Completion of the internship does not guarantee full time employment; any person who wants to be employed by the MPD must complete the full hiring process. Graduating seniors may be eligible to participate in the Partnership for Experiential Learning track, during which they can complete the sworn hiring process during the second half of their internship. Many interns enjoy their experience with the MPD and return as civilian volunteers or sworn officers.

The MPD’s intern drug policy is clearly outlined on the Collegiate Internship Program - Interest Card & Application; no exceptions will be made. A full background check will be conducted on all applicants to uncover drug use and any other questionable actions/behaviors.

Intern applicants undergo a background check similar to that of sworn officers. Applicants will have to complete numerous questionnaires and will be asked to provide personal and professional references. More information will be provided after you submit your initial application.

August 6, 1861, Congress passed an Act which declared the boundaries of DC to constitute...

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...a police district to be called the “Metropolitan Police District”. The newly elected President, Abraham Lincoln presided over the creation of this new police department. Washington, DC was divided into 10 precincts; each headed by a sergeant with 150 privates divided among the precincts. An officer’s salary was $480 a year and they had to be at least 5 feet 6 inches tall, able to read and write, between the age of 25 and 45, and were required to provide their own guns.

March, 1865 – MPD handled their first Presidential Inauguration...

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...MPD intercepted John Wilkes Booth during his first attempt to assassinate President Lincoln at the inauguration of Lincoln’s second term.

In 1890 women were officially hired as Matrons which handled female prisoners and children...

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...In 1917, the Women’s Bureau of the MPD was created in order to give women a more active role in investigating. The Bureau became nationally recognized for its proactive ideas and methods.

In 1913, the Department purchased the first motorized vehicles (10 motorcycles) to assist the...

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...bicycle squads and by 1914, five “motor patrol” wagons were purchased. In 1915, the first police school was established to train officers in using their firearms and basic first aid.

In 1934 the first Metropolitan Police Boys Club was established The club was designed to...

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...keep young men out of trouble and provide them with positive role models, and the club still exists today as the MPD Boys and Girls Clubs. The club was such a success that other cities quickly followed in the footsteps of the MPD.

In November 1948, the Metropolitan Police Reserve Corps was established and...

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...first deployed on October 31, 1951 with the original responsibility to guard fire alarm boxes to prevent people from mischievously sounding fire alarms on Halloween Night.

In 1951 the Chief, Robert V. Murray established an Internal Investigations...

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...Division during his tenure.

In 1962 Officers began to patrol and monitor traffic in a private helicopter.

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In 1966 the first cadet class graduated. 

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May 1-4, 1971, “May Day” when over 50,000 demonstrators came to Washington to...

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...force the closure of the Government. This was the largest mass arrest in history with a total of 12,000 people arrested. Due to the professionalism and effectiveness of the MPD, there were no serious injuries to police officers or protestors, no use of deadly force, and very few complaints of misconduct.

In 1978, Burtell M. Jefferson became the first African American Chief of Police....

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...He was a very community minded person, having been a native of Washington DC and having attended American University and Howard University. His tenure saw a reduction in crime while also dealing with restrictions due to the energy crisis and threats of personnel cuts.

In 1988, the Department switched from the long issued Smith and Wesson .38 caliber...

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...revolvers to the Glock 9mm pistols after Washington DC was named the Nation’s Murder Capital.

In 1993 the Office of Internal Affairs was created by Chief Fred Thomas to promote...

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...accountability among MPD officers.

In 1997, Chief Soulsby authorized the re-striping of the Scout Cars...

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...They were changed from the blue stripe and gold seal of the 1960s, to a red and blue striping that is still referred to as the Pepsi can design.

In 2004, the re-birth of the Air Support Unit (aka helicopter patrol, Helicopter Branch) was...

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...returned (original disbanded in 1996 due to budget cuts) along with a small cadre of horse-mounted officers.

In 2006, the joint Police and Fire Communications Center moved to a newly built state of...

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...the art communications center located on Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue in Southeast.

In Janury 2007, Chief Cathy Lanier was appointed by Washington, DC Mayor Adrian Fenty... 

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...in January 2007, replacing outgoing Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey. She was the first woman to achieve the position of Chief of Police in Washington DC.  In May 2012, Mayor Vincent C. Gray agreed to retain Lanier as police chief under his mayoral term.  Chief Lanier lead the Metropolitan Police Department until she retired 2017.  Chief Lanier was a great advocate for women in law enforcement and brought great technological changes to the MPD.  She was well known for her passionate involvement with the community.

In 2007-08, Chief Lanier initiated; patrol districts listserv; "Neighborhood...

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...Safety Zone” the replacement of in-car systems equipped with GPS.

On the morning of Monday, September 16, 2013, Aaron Alexis entered... 

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...Building 197 at the Washington Navy Yard, where he served as an independent contractor, and carried out the most deadly workplace mass shooting in the Nation’s Capital in recent memory.  Over the course of 69 minutes, Alexis terrorized thousands of employees of Naval Sea Systems Command, firing indiscriminately from a shotgun he had legally purchased two days earlier and a handgun he had taken from a security guard after mortally wounding the guard.  He would also get into multiple shooting engagements with responding law enforcement officers, seriously injuring a Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officer.  In his final confrontation with police, Alexis ambushed and fired upon another MPD officer.  Fortunately, the officer was saved by his protective vest and was able to return fire, killing Alexis and ending his rampage.  When it was over, Alexis had shot and killed twelve people and injured several others.

Chief Peter Newsham was confirmed as the Chief of Police on May 3, 2017. 

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Chief Peter Newsham joined the MPD in 1989 and rose quickly through the ranks, serving in a number of district operational assignments. Chief Charles H. Ramsey promoted him to Commander of the Second District in January 2000. In June 2002, Newsham was promoted to Assistant Chief in charge of the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR). Chief Newsham was sworn in as the 30th police chief for the MPD on May 3, 2017. Chief Newsham holds a bachelor's degree from the College of the Holy Cross and a law degree at the University of Maryland School of Law. He is a member of the Maryland Bar.

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