Lateral Officer

Becoming a Lateral Officer

MPD is seeking police officers, with prior law enforcement experience to join the Department as lateral law enforcement officers. MPD offers many benefits, including a strong salary, a generous defined benefit retirement/pension plan and competitive annual leave, but best of all the opportunity to join the primary law enforcement agency for our nation’s capital. 

You will join 3,800 sworn members of the Metropolitan Police Department, ensuring the safety and security of the residents and visitors of our great city. MPD has a primary role in many national events, to include: presidential inaugurations, first amendment assemblies and other activities, which make this city and its’ police department unique. With the size of the agency, MPD offers great rank and specialization promotional opportunities.

The MPD values the experiences of officers from other departments and has numerous units for officers to consider. After 18 months of service with MPD, lateral officers will receive an additional 4.2% increase of their current pay. MPD will offer a hiring bonus of $5,000 for up to forty (40) lateral law enforcement officer hires before September 30, 2020. This bonus will be paid in two equal installments at the time of hire and time of graduation from lateral training.

  • Qualifications
  • Qualifications:

    Police Officers hired under the Lateral Law Enforcement Officer Program must meet the following qualifications and selection standards and be able to provide the following documentation:

    • A suitable disciplinary history from the applicant’s current/former law enforcement agency.
    • Be a US citizen, by birth or naturalization, at the time of application.
    • Must be 21 years old when appointed to officer.
    • Possess a valid driver’s license at the time of application.
    • Successful completion of a comprehensive background investigation.
    • Successful completion of a polygraph exam.
    • Successful completion of a medical and psychological evaluation.
    • Possess at least 20/100 vision, correctable to 20/30 in both eyes.
      • Contacts are permitted if they have been worn for six (6) months prior to examination, or if vision correction surgery (i.e., Lasik) has occurred at least six (6) weeks prior to examination.
    • Must have one of the following:
      • Successfully completed at least 60 semester hours of college credit with coursework in any subject from an accredited college or university; OR
      • Served in the US military, including the Organized Reserves or National Guard, for at least two years on active duty and, if separated, have received an honorable discharge; OR
      • Served at least three years in a full-duty status with a full-service police department in a US state or municipality and have resigned or retired in good standing.

    Lateral law enforcement officers must meet all MPD suitability and selection standards, in addition to possessing prior law enforcement experience. Applicants must also have served within the past 12 months in a position with primary duties of investigating, apprehending and detaining criminal suspects.

    Applicants from sworn law enforcement agencies, who are primarily involved in duties other than 911 response (i.e., sheriff’s office without patrol responsibility), are credited half-time for prior lateral experience. 

    Please find the list of automatic disqualifiers here.

  • Application Process
  • Lateral Application Process:

    Here’s how the selection process works:

    1. Complete an MPD Interest Card. 

    2. Attend an MPD Prospect Day where you will participate in several screening events [e.g., physical ability test, document screening, fingerprinting].

    3. Candidates who meet all the qualifications of the screening events, will then complete their National Testing Network Frontline National Written Exam at 1 p.m. Candidates who have taken the exam within the past year are exempt. Candidates who take the exam before attending an MPD Prospect Day are reminded to designate MPD as their intended department. 

    4. Undergo a comprehensive background investigation, to be completed over a 4-to-6-month time period.

    5. Take a polygraph exam.

    6. Submit to a medical and psychological evaluation.

    7. MPD review and decision. 

    Hiring preferences are given to District of Columbia residents and US military veterans. 

    Selected candidates for appointment as an MPD police officer must agree to serve at least two years as a sworn member upon successful completion of the initial training program or may be required to reimburse the District for recruit training. 

    Members may only claim eligibility of prior law enforcement service from one agency. 

  • Pay & Benefits
  • Pay & Benefits:

    Lateral law enforcement officers receive the following primary benefits by joining MPD:

    1. Credit of prior service for purposes of compensation.

    2. Accrual of annual leave based on length of service (to include credited prior law enforcement service).

    3. Access to all MPD’s benefits, including the participation in the Police Officers and Firefighters’ Retirement Plan (Police & Fire Plan).

    MPD’s defined benefit retirement/pension plan allows members retiring after 25 years of MPD service an annuity payment of 62.5 percent of their highest average pay. The maximum annuity payment is 80 percent of the highest average pay. Prior lateral service may be purchased from the DC Retirement Board.

    After 18 months of service with MPD, lateral officers will receive an additional 4.2% increase of their current pay. MPD will offer a hiring bonus of $5,000 for up to forty (40) lateral law enforcement officer hires before Sept. 30, 2020. This bonus will be paid in two equal installments at the time of hire and time of graduation from lateral training.

    Annual salary compensation is based on credited years of prior service. For a detailed breakdown of salary compensation, please review the chart found here.

    Financial Benefits:

    • Defined Benefit Plan.
    • Language Stipend Program – Police officers who are certified as fluent in any language other than English, including American Sign Language, receive a $50 stipend per pay period approximately an extra $1,300 per year. To qualify for the stipend, members must pass a certification test administered by an outside contractor.
    • Shift Differential – Members are entitled to pay at their scheduled rate plus a differential of 3% for regularly scheduled non-overtime work when the majority of their work hours occur between 3 p.m. and 12 a.m.; 4% of their scheduled rate if the majority of their work hours occur between 11 pm and 8 am.

    Housing Benefits:

    • MPD Temporary Housing (free housing benefit): This program is designed to assist new recruits with their transition into the Metropolitan Police Academy. Temporary housing is a free housing benefit and is offered up to 4 months. This accommodation consists of dormitory style housing with access to a refrigerator, washer/dryer, bed, dresser, shelving and closet space. Temporary housing is a convenient 10 minute walk to the Academy. Please note that temporary housing is based on availability.
      • For individuals approved for temporary housing, check-in begins on the Sunday prior to an Academy start date from 1 pm – 6 pm.
    • Employer-Assisted Housing Program (EAHP): The Employer-Assisted Housing Program (EAHP) offers eligible District government employees a deferred, 0% interest loan and a matching funds grant for down payment and closing costs to purchase their first single family home, condominium, or cooperative unit in the District.
    • The Metropolitan Police Housing Assistance Program (HPAP): The Metropolitan Police Housing Assistance Program (MPHAP) provides police officers in the District of Columbia with financial assistance and other incentives to become first-time homeowners in Washington, DC. To learn more, please visit: https://dhcd.dc.gov/page/hpap-eligibility-how-apply-and-program-details 
    • The MPD Recruit Housing Allowance Incentive Program: The MPD Recruit Housing Allowance Incentive Program is designed to assist new police officers in their transition to working and living in the communities they serve in Washington, DC. Eligible MPD recruits who sign up between October 2019 and September 2020 will receive rental assistance of $1,000 per month for six months, for properties in DC.*
      • Am I eligible?: All police recruits are eligible to sign up from this benefit during their first three months of employment with MPD. All recruits commit to staying with MPD for two years after they complete their 6-month training program at MPD’s Metropolitan Police Academy. Participation in the Recruit Housing Allowance Incentive Program requires recruits to commit to staying with MPD an extra six months (for a total of two and a half years) after they graduate from the academy.
      • How can I apply?: Program participation requires a completed application and signed lease agreement for a residence in the District of Columbia. You can get an application and more information by contacting the Professional Development Bureau (PDB) via telephone (202) 727-9832 or email [email protected]

    *Funds for this program are approved for Fiscal Year 2020, which ends September 30, 2020. As a result, recruits who sign up for this program after October 2019 will receive this benefit for the number of months remaining in Fiscal Year 2020. Participation is also based on the availability of funds under the MPD Recruit Housing Allowance Incentive Program.

    Educational Benefits:

    • Tuition Reimbursement – MPD offers $2,400 per year in tuition reimbursement assistance for ongoing education.
    • Training – MPD hosts a wide variety of training options for members to include annual Professional Development Training. MPD also endorses and sponsors members to attend external training opportunities, to include degree baring programs.

    Leave Benefits:

    • Annual Leave (Note: prior credited lateral time is applied for annual leave accrual).
      • < 3 years = 13 days of annual leave per year (4 hours per pay period).
      • 3 < 15 years = 20 days of annual leave per year (6 hours per pay period).
      • 15+ years = 26 days of annual leave per year (8 hours per pay period).
    • Paid Holidays – 11 paid holidays per year.
    • Sick Leave – 13 days of sick leave per year (4 hours per pay period).
    • DC Family and Medical Leave Act (DCFMLA) – The DCFMLA allows for up to 16 weeks of unpaid leave in any 24-month period for employees who are physically unable to work because of a serious medical condition (including maternity) or other specified reason. Documentation is required.
    • Paid Family Leave – District of Columbia Government employees may receive up to eight (8) weeks of paid leave for the birth or adoption of a child or to care for a family member with a serious health condition.

    Other Benefits:

    • DC College Savings Plan – The DC College Savings Plan is a Section 529 plan created to help families prepare for the substantial cost of higher education. The plan offers special tax advantages that enable participants to maximize their savings potential.
    • Dental & Vision Coverage – Excellent dental and vision coverage through plans negotiated for the rank and file by the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP).
    • Employer-Assisted Housing Program – The Employer-Assisted Housing Program (EAHP) offers eligible District government employees a deferred, 0% interest loan and a matching funds grant for down payment and closing costs to purchase their first single family home, condominium, or cooperative unit in the District.
    • Fitness Centers – Each police district is equipped with a fitness facility, which can be accessed 24/7 at no cost to the member. 
    • Health & Life Insurance.
    • Metropolitan Police Employee Assistance Program (MPEAP) – MPEAP is a free confidential counseling program for police officers, police officials and family members. 
    • Savings Plans (457b) – The 457(b) Deferred Compensation Plan is one piece of a retirement program designed to supplement a member’s retirement savings. 
    • Uniforms and Equipment – required equipment is provided at no cost to the member.
    • Union Coverage – all sworn officers and sergeants are covered by the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP).
    • Overtime Compensation – Police officers may earn additional compensation for duty performed beyond the FLSA threshold. 

    Visit the Benefits page to learn more.

  • FAQs
  • FAQs:

    Does MPD have a mandatory age retirement?
    As provided in DC Code §5-712, sworn employees must be mandatorily retired at age 60. Consistent with the law, extensions of this requirement, up until the age of 64 may be granted.

    Are there service requirements to be eligible for retiree health care?
    To be eligible for retiree health care an officer must maintain their health plan for 5 consecutive years and have at least 10 years of service with the District of Columbia. 

    Does longevity pay carry into retirement?
    Members must complete 25 years of service as a police officer with MPD for longevity pay to carry into retirement.

    Does credited lateral service effect MPD seniority?
    Lateral police officer’s seniority is calculated based on their date of hire with MPD. 


    Still have questions? Check the MPD Helpdesk to see if we’ve answered it.

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