Lateral Law Enforcement Officer Program

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.

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

Lateral law enforcement officers complete an abbreviated (approximately 11 week) police academy training program, based upon their prior law enforcement training to ensure they meet all MPD standards.

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)

FY2020 salary compensation, based on credited years of prior service is shown below:

Years of Experience Credited by MPD

Starting Step / Salary

< 2 years Step 2 - $63,208
2- <3 years Step 3 - $66,367
3 - <5 years Step 4 - $69,684
5 - < 7 years Step 5 - $73,170
7 - <10 years Step 6 - $76,814
10 - <13 years Step 7 - $80,670
13 - < 15 years Step 8 - $84,703
15 years Step 8 - $87,839
16 + years Step 9 - $92,073

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.

Make the switch to MPD today!


Police Officers hired under the Lateral Law Enforcement Officer program must meet all MPD suitability and selection standards to include:

  • Be a US citizen by birth or naturalization at the time of application
  • Be at least twenty-one (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, interview, medical evaluation, psychological assessment and polygraph examination
  • A suitable disciplinary history from the applicant’s current/former law enforcement agency.
  • Completed 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, 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.

Lateral law enforcement officers must meet all MPD suitability and selection standards, in addition to possessing prior law enforcement experience.  Lateral law enforcement officer applicants must have served within the past 12 months in a position with duties to include primarily the investigation, apprehension, or detention of individuals suspected or convicted of offenses against the criminal laws of the United States of America or any state of the United States of America.

For treatment of prior service time, prospective lateral law enforcement officers from full-service law enforcement agencies (i.e., agencies primarily involved in 911 response), would be credited full-time for prior lateral experience.  Members of the United States Capitol Police, United States Park Police, Federal Protective Services and the United States Secret Service Uniformed Division are eligible to apply and would receive full-service credit. Prospective lateral law enforcement officers from sworn law enforcement agencies, who are primarily involved in duties other than 911 response (i.e., sheriff’s office w/out patrol responsibility), would be credited half-time for prior lateral experience. 

Members may only claim eligibility of prior law enforcement service from one agency (i.e., not adding multiple agency service time credits).

Selection Process

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


Complete an interest card.


You will attend an in-person MPD Prospect Day during which you will take part in the following events:


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


Undergo a comprehensive background investigation.


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


Receive MPD review and approval.


Pass the Lateral Law Enforcement Officer General Law Enforcement Knowledge and Proficiency Examination.


In addition to the competitive salary, outlined previously, there are a variety of other benefits available to members of MPD, including:

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.

Financial Benefits:

  • Defined Benefit Plan (see retirement)
  • 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.
  • Overtime Compensation – Police officers may earn additional compensation for duty performed beyond the FLSA threshold. 
  • 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 midnight; 4% of their scheduled rate if the majority of their work hours occur between 11 p.m. and 8 a.m.

Education 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. 

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
  • 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 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)


On date of hire with MPD, lateral law enforcement officers are automatically covered under the Police & Fire Plan as new Plan participants in the current retirement tier (“Tier 3”).  Under Tier 3, members receive and annual retirement benefit of 2.5% of the average base pay for the total years of credible service.  The maximum annual retirement benefit is 80% of the average base pay. 

Credit for prior lateral service is not automatic.  Incoming lateral law enforcement officers who would like to receive retirement credit under the Police & Fire Plan for their prior law enforcement officer service towards their retirement eligibility and retirement benefit calculation must purchase their prior service at the full actuarial cost.

The District of Columbia Retirement Board (DCRB) is responsible for the Police & Fire Plan and purchase of service calculations. MPD does not serve as an intermediary in this process. Incoming lateral police officer hires are fully responsible for this purchase, if they wish for prior lateral service to count towards retirement.  Neither MPD nor the District is responsible for funding this purchase.  Years of experience credited by MPD is not automatically credited for retirement purposes; that service may only be credited if purchased by the lateral police officer hire at the actuarial rate established by DCRB.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does MPD have a mandatory age retirement?

As provided in D.C. 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. 

Please click here to view our questions, answers and FAQs.

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

Learn More 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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