(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Chief Robert J. Contee, III highlighted legislation that the Mayor introduced this week that will make more DC residents eligible to participate in the MPD Cadet Corps Program. The Law Enforcement Career Opportunities for District Residents Expansion Amendment Act of 202l would remove the requirement that applicants must have graduated from a DC high school, opening up the program to more young adults who are DC residents. The legislation will support MPD in building a police department that represents and reflects the city by ensuring that high-quality candidates who live in DC and are invested in the community are not overlooked.
“We want police officers who represent and reflect DC residents, who understand our city and our culture, and who are invested in our communities – and that’s why the Cadet Corps Program is so important to MPD’s recruiting efforts,” said Mayor Bowser. “I am proud that since 2015 we have made more Washingtonians eligible for the Cadet Program and increased the program from 20 cadets six years ago to 150 cadets in the coming year. The community has my commitment that we are going to throw every resource at violent crime until we flatten this curve too. And part of that commitment means hiring more DC residents to become DC police.”
The Cadet Corps Program is a critical tool for recruiting and hiring DC residents to serve as DC police. Approximately half of MPD’s current cadets are women and 97% of cadets are people of color. Currently, however, the Cadet Program is only open to DC residents who are seniors in high school through 24 year-olds who are either currently enrolled in a District of Columbia high school, a graduate of a District of Columbia high school having received a diploma, or a recipient of a GED issued by the District of Columbia.
“I was once a young District resident interested in joining MPD. The Cadet program was my opportunity to see the department from the inside. I was able to write my story. The sky was the limit and now I am the Chief of Police,” said Chief Contee. “Passing this legislation is an investment in our District youth. The expansion of the Cadet Corps program will ensure that we are recruiting members of our community who will be the best people to come, to stay, to learn and grow here at MPD.”
The MPD Cadet Corps is a specialized program for young DC residents, who must be either a high school senior or younger than 25,to serve part-time as uniformed, civilian employees. Members of the Cadet Corps earn a salary, starting at $35,637, while also taking college courses, and earn up to 60 tuition free credits toward a degree at the University of the District of Columbia Community College. Cadets spend part of their time working specific job assignments for MPD while also working toward their degree. The members are put on a track to enter into MPD’s Police Officer Recruit Program at the Metropolitan Police Academy. The program helps cadets develop the leadership and skills required to meet the challenges of their complex roles as problem-solvers, service providers, and professionals in the criminal justice system of the 21st century.
In addition to highlighting the legislation, the Mayor and the Chief announced the relaunch of the part-time Metropolitan Police Academy’s High School Cadet Program (HSCP). Students enroll in the HSCP the month before they begin their senior year of high school. The mission of HSCP is to expand the pipeline of prospective cadets by providing mentoring, training, and experience to those interested in the field of law enforcement. The program provides first-hand experiences and insights into the operations of MPD. HSCP will be structured as a part-time program to allow high school seniors to participate in seven hours Monday-Friday and five hours on Saturday (for a maximum of 12 hours per week), while still continuing their high school curriculum. Upon graduation from high school or the obtainment of a GED, the cadet would be converted to a full time member of the MPD Cadet Corps Program and enroll in the University of the District of Columbia Community College.
In 2016, Mayor Bowser expanded eligibility for the MPD Cadet Corps Program by increasing the maximum age for participating from 21 to 24. Since coming into office, the Mayor has grown the Cadet Program from 20 cadets in 2015 to 150 cadets in Fiscal Year 2022.