Green card holders are now eligible to work as D.C. police officers.
The D.C. police department announced the employment policy change June 29, describing it as a step toward “ensuring our agency is representative of the community it serves.”
This update to eligibility criteria was made in the Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Act of 2022, which took effect in April. Previously, only U.S. citizens could be considered for officer positions with D.C. police.
“This step marks a significant milestone in our journey, as we look forward to welcoming a more diverse pool of applicants,” Interim Chief of Police Ashan Benedict said in a news release.
The decision comes at a time of staffing shortages among District police. In February, police officials told members of the D.C. Council the department was nearing a record low number of 3,400 officers on the force.
The D.C. government has been pushing to build up the ranks — aiming for 4,200 officers over the next decade — with initiatives like a $25,000 hiring bonus, announced in April. With that bonus, a D.C. police officer could earn over $80,000 in their first year, according to the news release.