WASHINGTON — If D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser gets her way, the D.C. Police Department will expand its cadet program and hold on to some veteran officers who are eligible for retirement.
The mayor has introduced two bills aimed at strengthening the police force. The first would raise the eligible age for police cadets from 21 to 25.
“You would be able to work 20 hours per week with the police department, learning and seeing and observing officers while you’re going to school to get 60 credits, and then you would be able to join the police academy,” Bowser said.
Those eligible for the cadet program must graduate from D.C. high schools. The city would cover the cadet’s tuition toward an associate’s degree at the University of the District of Columbia.
The department currently has 19 cadets, and the program has successfully funneled many cadets into the ranks of the police department.
The D.C. police force has struggled in recent years to replenish its ranks, faced with many retirements of senior officers. The second bill would authorize the police chief to rehire sergeants and detectives who retire.
“The new measures she’s proposing to help us with retaining and bringing on additional police officers, going forward, is going to be a tremendous help to us,” said D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier.
Last month, Lanier said the department had about 3,750 officers, the fewest since 2004.
The measures require approval from the D.C. Council.