One of the most important things we do at MPD is to select the right candidates to become police officers. We invest in the best training and reward our officers with competitive pay and benefits for a career that may span decades.
Becoming a Police Officer
Whether you are a veteran officer or a new recruit, making a difference every day in the community is reason to wear the uniform. At MPD, you will partner with and learn from some of the finest officers in the nation, while having a direct impact on the nation’s capital.
As one of the 10 largest police departments in the United States, we are dedicated to giving our officers the ongoing training and tools they need for a long and fulfilling law enforcement career. We work to maintain a highly trained, technically advanced, professional force where respect, teamwork and camaraderie are our culture.
Candidates must meet the following qualifications and be able to provide the following documentation:
- 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.
Candidates who do not meet one of the criteria above may consider the MPD Cadet Corps (for those who are 24 or under) or the UDC/MPD Police Officer Training Cohort (POTC), which assists prospective applicants in obtaining their education to become a DC police officer.
Please find the list of automatic disqualifiers here.
MPD 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 pm. 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.
Pay & Benefits:
At MPD, we know there are many options for serving in law enforcement. That is why we offer among the most competitive pay and benefits packages in the region.
The annual starting salary for police officers is $60,199; after successful completion of the 18-month probationary period, members earn $65,863. Recruits begin earning their full salary upon entering the Academy. A top step officer can earn an annual salary of $110,478. 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.
- 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 midnight; 4% of their scheduled rate if the majority of their work hours occur between 11 pm and 8 am.
- 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.
- Tuition Reimbursement – MPD offers $2,400 per calendar 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.
- 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.
- 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.
MPD chooses officers carefully, trains them thoroughly and guides and mentors them throughout their careers. There are several specialized units that officers are eligible to apply for after serving 3-5 years on patrol. Positions across varying specialized units are dependent on need at time of consideration and are generally selected through a competitive interview process. Upon selection, all necessary training and equipment is provided by MPD.
What are the requirements to join MPD as a police officer? 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.
Do I need to reside in the District of Columbia in order to be an MPD police officer?
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. However, 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. Furthermore, MPD provides incentives for new officers to make Washington, DC their home. Visit the "Pay and Benefits" tab to learn more about the housing benefits available to new MPD officers.
How are MPD Police Officers compensated?
The Metropolitan Police Department offers one of the most competitive pay and benefits packages in the region. The annual starting salary for police officers is $60,199; and after successful completion of the 18-month probationary period members earn $65,863. Recruits begin earning their full salary upon entering the Academy. A top step officer can earn an annual salary of $110,478. Officers who work the evening tour of duty receive a three percent pay differential. Officers working the midnight shift receive a four percent differential.
I speak more than one language. How can this benefit me?
Yes, MPD has a 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.
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 4-to-6 months but this estimated time depends on various factors, such as: 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.
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 two 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?
The MPD Academy is not residential; however, recruit officers may live at a temporary residential housing facility, while transitioning to Washington, DC. 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, 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.
How long is the academy training?
MPD's Academy includes approximately 24 weeks of intensive academic and physical skills training. This includes training on legal aspects of policing, policies of the Metropolitan Police Department and tactical training.
Do I need prior law enforcement training?
No, we will equip you with the skills and training that you need 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.
I work for another police department. Can I transfer to MPD?
You may be eligible through our Lateral Law Enforcement Officer Program.
When can I retire?
Sworn members are eligible for retirement after 25 years of service with MPD at any age.
Still have questions? Check the MPD Helpdesk to see if we’ve answered it.