Law Enforcement Careers in the District of Columbia

According to stats from the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program, violent crime in our nation’s capital has increased 5.8% between 2018 and 2019, rising from 6,995 incidents in 2018 to 7,403 incidents in 2019.

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MPD crime stats show a decrease in many violent crimes between 2017 and 2018, including sex abuse (-8%), assault with a dangerous weapon (-10%), robbery (-7%), and burglary (-7%). However, homicides during this time jumped from 116 to 160, an increase of 38%. Recent statistics show that 2019 will again post an upward trend in homicides.

Working in the trenches as a law enforcement officer in Washington D.C. is not for the faint of heart; it’s for those with a fire in their chest for justice and a willingness to devote themselves to making a difference in the lives of those who live, work, and visit our nation’s capital. A career in law enforcement here is exciting, fulfilling, and offers unparalleled opportunities for advancement and specialization.

Jobs with Washington D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department

The Metropolitan Police Department is Washington D.C.’s centralized law enforcement agency. Most often referred to as the Metro Police or simply the MPD, the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department ranks among the top ten local police forces in the U.S.

The MPD has more than 4,000 sworn and civilian members and is divided into seven police districts, each of which is then further organized into police service areas (PSAs). All police districts have between seven and nine PSAs, each of which is assigned its own team of police officers. Because of its location within an independent federal city, the MPD must serve as a local, county, and state police agency.

MPD officers often work alongside a number of law enforcement agencies, including the United States Secret Services, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Capitol Police, and the United States Park Police.

Jobs with the Specialized Units of the DC Metro Police

The MPD has a number of specialized units. Officers with at least three years of experience working for the MPD may apply for a position with one of the following specialized units:

  • Emergency Response Team
  • Bomb Squad
  • Harbor Patrol Unit
  • Canine Unit
  • Helicopter Unit
  • Special Events
  • Special Investigations
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The MPD’s Executive Office of the Chief of Police is organized into seven bureaus:

  • Internal Affairs Bureau
  • Strategic Services Bureau
  • Homeland Security Bureau
  • Patrol Services and School Security Bureau
  • Professional Development Bureau
  • Corporate Support Bureau
  • Investigative Services Bureau

The MPD also has operates a number of units that are designed to better assist the general public:

  • Youth Investigations Branch
  • Victims Specialists Unit
  • Major Case Victims Unit
  • Latino Liaison Unit
  • Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit
  • Firearms Registration Unit
  • Financial Crimes and Fraud Unit
  • Family Liaison Specialist Unit
  • Evidence Control Division
  • Domestic Violence Unit
  • Deaf and Hard of Hearing Liaison Unit
  • Corporate Support Bureau
  • Community Outreach
  • Civil Rights and Force Investigations Branch
  • Asian Liaison Unit
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How to Become a Police Officer with the DC Metro Police Department

Candidates must complete an extensive police officer background investigation process that may take up to six months to complete. The required activities during this period include:

  • New candidate orientation
  • Physical ability test and a written examination
  • Fingerprinting
  • Polygraph examination
  • Medical and psychological evaluation

District of Columbia Law Enforcement Salaries

Officers with the Metropolitan Police Department earn salaries that range between $62,430 and $100,800.

2021 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary figures for police and sheriff’s patrol officers. Job growth projections from the US Department of Labor-sponsored resource, Projections Central. Figures are based on state data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed August 2022