Collegiate Internship Program

MPD is pleased to offer challenging and rewarding opportunities for professional development to qualified college and university students. Our internships allow students to think about the transition from school to practice and to develop insights into the law enforcement profession that are rarely available in a conventional classroom setting. MPD's College Internship Program introduces students to all aspects of law enforcement that enhance their understanding of the criminal justice system. In addition, students are introduced to the various career opportunities that await them should they decide to choose law enforcement as a career.

Application Criteria
• Willing to serve as a volunteer (unpaid) member of the Department
• Must be currently enrolled in an accredited college or university having earned a minimum of 24 credits
• Must have at least a 3.0 GPA
• Able to pass a background check and fingerprinting
Commitment Requirements
Students participating during the Spring and Fall Semesters must complete a minimum of 16 hours per week for a minimum of 14 weeks. Summer program students will be required to complete a minimum of 24 hours per week for a minimum of 8 weeks. Students may be employed part-time outside of the MPD provided that their work hours do not interfere with their MPD assignments and hourly requirements. Some internship assignments might require the student to work rotating shifts, or a tour-of-duty outside the normal 0900-1700 tour used by private sector employers. In these cases, students will be informed of the hours prior to accepting the internship with the unit. Formal exit evaluations will be completed by supervisors at the completion of all internships.
Application Requirements
• The application requires 150 - 250 word responses to each of the following questions:
o Why are you interested in an MPD internship?
o As an intern, what can you offer MPD?
o What do you expect to learn from your internship?
o What would be your ideal internship placement and why?

Once the application is received, eligible applicants will be contacted by a background investigator. Applicants undergo a background check similar to that of sworn officers (please find the list of automatic disqualifiers here.  Applicants will have to complete numerous questionnaires, upload required documents and provide personal and professional references. Applicants will be notified of their selection at least two weeks prior to their start date. Once notified of their selection, applicants will be given directions for completing the processing requirements.

At any point in the application process applicants may be asked to participate in an in-person or phone interview. Intern applicants who are not accepted into the program, for any reason, will be notified.

*Any felony conduct, recent illegal drug usage (marijuana and non-prescribed Adderall within one year of application) or any other illegal drug usage (within five years of application) will result in non-selection.


Fall 2019 Semester: August 31st - December 3rd
Application Deadline: July 1 
Spring 2020 Semester: January 27th - April 30th
Application Deadline: October 16

Summer 2020 Semester: June 2nd - July 30th
Application Deadline: March 18



• Receive Academic Credit
• Participate in Ride-Alongs
• Observe operations at the Joint Operation Command Center
• Tour the Metropolitan Police Academy Training Facility

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Why should I choose an internship with MPD?

    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.

    Is the MPD Collegiate Internship Program paid?

    The internship is not paid.

    Can I receive credit for completing the MPD Collegiate Internship Program?

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

    Is a car required for this internship?

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

    Do I have to be a Washington, DC resident to participate in the internship?

    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.

    What kind of work will I do as an intern with the MPD?

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

    I want to be a police officer when I graduate from school. Will I be able to participate in ride-alongs as part of my internship?

    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 have the opportunity to participate in and assist with training at the Metropolitan Police Academy

    I don’t know what I want to do for a career. Will this internship help me make a decision?

    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.

    I want to wear a uniform and gain hands-on law enforcement experience. Is this the right internship for me?

    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 reserve officer and citizen volunteer.

    Will I be offered full-time employment with the MPD at the conclusion of my internship?

    Completion of the internship does not guarantee full time employment; any person who wants to be employed by 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 MPD and return as civilian volunteers or sworn officers.

    I have used illegal drugs in the past. Am I eligible to apply?

    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.

    What does the background check consist of?

    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 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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