D.C. wants more police officers. To make that happen, the District is offering a $20,000 hiring bonus to new officers.
The bonus will be paid out in two installments, $10,000 as an initial hiring bonus, and the second installment upon successful completion of the police academy. This bonus will go into effect with the newest academy class beginning next week.
“We know how critical it is to have a fully staffed and resourced MPD, and that requires us to hire strong talent and to retain experienced officers. These hiring bonuses will help MPD recruit and hire more officers to keep our city safe,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser Friday.
Qualified applicants are eligible for existing recruitment perks, including a $6,000 housing stipend.
“We want to be able to attract the best of the best to work with MPD,” Bowser said during a news conference Friday.
Bowser said the new incentive is part of the 2023 budget she proposed, but the administration expedited the program to speed up recruitment efforts.
Bowser had asked the D.C. Council to fund a $30 million recruitment and retention benefits package, but the Council slashed that by about 20 percent.
The Council did approve her request for funding to hire an additional 347 officers.
Chief Robert Contee, who joined the mayor for the news conference, said that attracting new officers in a tight job market has been challenging to departments nationwide.
“We’re coming on the heels of a pandemic. We’re coming on the heels of social unrest. We’re coming off a place in time where people just want to be at home and telecommute,” said Contee. “And so in this very challenging job market, we have to come up with creative ways to lure officers to our department.”
The hiring bonuses provide “an opportunity for those passionate about serving the community and certainly creates a pathway to getting ahead.”
Starting salary at the department is currently just over $60,000. First year officers will now be eligible to earn more than $80,000 with the new bonus.