Entry Level Officer Program

The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD)  is the premier police agency in the nation. We are a dedicated community-oriented police department that serves and protects residents of and visitors to Washington, DC. MPD offers a competitive starting salary and benefits for its sworn members, and many opportunities for advancement through our competitive promotional process. If you choose the MPD you will learn hands-on from some of the best public safety professionals in the country and get a chance to make a difference.

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.  To learn more, click here.

Hiring Preferences

Residents of the District of Columbia and US Military Veterans are awarded preference points in hiring:

Obligated Service

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

To learn more about diversity at MPD, please click here.

Selection Process

The police officer background investigation process can take approximately four to six months. Applicants must:


Complete an interest card.


Pass the written multiple-choice test. 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.

Visit www.nationaltestingnetwork.com to apply and select a testing location.


Complete the Personal History Statement through our online system “eSOPH” to begin the background investigation process (criminal checks, references, employment, social media checks, etc.).


After you have passed the written multiple-choice test and completed your Personal History Statement (through eSOPH), you will be invited to attend an in-person applicant mass processing day during which you will take part in the following events:

  • Physical ability test
  • Applicant screening and document collection
  • Fingerprinting


Take a polygraph examination.


Undergo a comprehensive background investigation.


Submit to a medical and psychological evaluation and undergo a comprehensive background investigation.


Receive MPD review and approval.


  • Competitive Salary*
  • Language Stipend Program**
  • Annual Leave
  • Paid Holidays
  • Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
  • Retirement
  • Additional Duty
  • Savings Plans
  • Tuition Reimbursement
  • Heatlh & Life Insurance
  • Sick Leave
  • DC Paid Family Leave
  • DC Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
  • Dental & Vision Coverage
  • Uniforms and Equipment
  • Union
  • Attorney Coverage
  • Metropolitan Police Employee Assistance Program (MPEAP)
  • Police & Fire Clinic
  • Fitness Centers
  • Training
  • Recruit Rental Assistance Program

* The annual starting salary for police officers is $55,362. After a period of one year members earn $58,130; and after successful completion of the 18 month probationary period members earn $60,571. Recruits begin earning their full salary upon entering the Academy. A top step officer can earn $98,572 after 25 years of service. Officers who work the evening tour of duty receive a three percent pay differential. Officers working the midnight shift receive a four percent differential.  

**Police officers (and civilian employees) 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.

Visit the Benefits page to learn more.


  • Be a United States citizen (by birth or Naturalization)
  • Be 21 years of age
  • Possess at least 20/100 vision, correctable to 20/30 in both eyes (contacts are permitted, but must be worn for six (6) months or Lasik-type surgery at least six (6) weeks prior to examination)
  • Possess a valid driver’s license at the time of application
  • Willing to submit to a background investigation, medical evaluation, psychological assessment and polygraph examination
  • Have one of the following:
    • Successfully completed at least 60 semester hours of college credit with coursework in any subject matter. Credits from any accredited college or university will be accepted; or
    • Served in the Armed Forces of the United States, including the Organized Reserves and National Guard, for at least two years on active duty and, if separated from the military, have received an honorable discharge; or
    • Served at least three years in a full-duty status with a full-service police department in a municipality or a state within the United States, and have resigned or retired in good standing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I qualify?

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.

Does MPD have a maximum age limit?

MPD does not have a maximum age limit to apply as a recruit; however, a sworn officer must retire at 64 years of age.

How much will I be paid?

The starting salary is $55,362 annually beginning with the first day of employment while in the academy.  After successful completion of the 18 month probationary period, members earn $60,571.

When will I be paid?

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

Does MPD help to pay for expenses or defray costs of travel and/or any other expenses?

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

Is there a cost to apply?

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: 1). total cost reimbursement within 30 days if they are residents of the District of Columbia; 2). $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. Visit www.nationaltestingnetwork.com to apply and select a testing location.

If I can’t afford to pay for the entry-level test what can I do?

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.

Will I be paid more for having a degree?

MPD does not pay more for applicants with a degree.

When can I retire?

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

I speak more than one language. Can I get more money?

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.

Does MPD offer a Tuition Reimbursement program?

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.

I have a security clearance. Will I be hired faster?

Having an existing security clearance offers no advantage. MPD will conduct its own background investigation whether you have a clearance or not.

Does MPD have a tattoo policy?

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

I have an arrest on my record, am I eligible to become a police officer?

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. 

I have done drugs. Can I still be an MPD police officer?

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.

I work for another police department. Can I transfer to MPD?

You may be eligible through our Experienced Officer Program.

I am in the military, can I start the process of applying to become an MPD police officer if I have not yet received my DD-214?

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

I am currently active duty in the military, when should I apply?

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.

Does MPD honor Military Service Commitments?

Yes. When you are 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.

Does MPD pay relocation costs?

MPD does not offer relocation incentives.

What is the body fat percentage for males and females?

Males: less than 30% at mass processing and 28% at medical. 
Females: less than 36% at mass processing and 34% at medical.

Do I need to reside in the District of Columbia in order to be an MPD police officer?

You do not need to reside in the District of Columbia because there are no restrictions on where an officer can live. However, there are hiring preferences for DC residents.  

How many times will I need to visit the Washington Metropolitan area during the hiring process?

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.

How long is the selection process from the time I apply to the time I am hired?

The entire selection process may take up to six months but this estimated time depends on various factors:  1). the number of times an applicant has moved; 2). the number of different states an applicant has lived in; or 
3). a lengthy work history.  Your response to requests from your background investigator and meeting any deadlines or appointments will also play a role in how long the process will take.

What if I do not have all my documents required for Mass Applicant Processing Day?

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.

What is the Written Examination?

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 2 hours.

Where is the academy located?

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

When is the next academy class?

Academy classes are held monthly.

While in the Academy do I live there?

Participants do not live on campus, MPD does not offer a residency program.  

How long is the academy training?

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.  To learn more about the physical training standards, please click here.

Do I need prior law enforcement training?

Prior law enforcement training is not necessary, MPD will equip participants with the skills and training needed to graduate from the academy.

Where will I be assigned?

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.

How do I become a detective, Sergeant, ERT member, K9 member, or a member of another type of specialized unit?

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. There is a civil service promotional process for ranks of sergeant through captain.  Promotion hire to the rank of captain and above is at the discretion of the Chief of Police.

Have more questions?

Email [email protected], or if you have questions regarding any matters personal in nature please contact us directly toll-free at (800) 994-MPDC (6732) or at (202) 645-0445. You may also visit the Recruitment Outreach Unit located at 101 M Street, SW, Washington, DC, 20024.

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.

Questions? Comments?

300 Indiana Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20001 | P: (202) 645-0445 | F: (202) 645-0444 | [email protected]