WASHINGTON – They marched into the auditorium as cadets. Minutes later, they were sworn in as the newest members of D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department.
D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier recalls the day she was sworn in more than 21 years ago.
“I remember every word that was said by the chief of police in my ceremony, which is why I put so much thought into what I say up there,” she says.
Lanier says she hopes these new officers aren’t thrown into the fire like she was on her very first day.
“Literally, [the] first week was the Mount Pleasant riots,” she says. “My first day up at the district when I was checking in, they had started the night before and we stayed at work for seven straight days.”
The graduating class included 23 new officers who will hit the streets this weekend, as well as six new reserve officers.
While most of the graduates appeared to be in their 20s, Lanier says there are no age restrictions.
“As long as you can pass the physical skills test and get through the academy, you’re good,” she says. “I think we had an actual recruit officer come through last year that was 59 years old and he was in better shape than anybody in the auditorium.”
But the graduates and their families also received a stark reminder of the dangers they’ll face, as the graduation was dedicated to a fallen officer.
“It puts everybody back in the right mindset that this is a great profession, but every day you’ve got to be really careful out there,” Lanier says.
WTOP’s Mark Segraves contributed to this report. Follow Mark and WTOP on Twitter.