Executive Office of the Mayor
Menu Button

Mayor Muriel Bowser Announces Proposed Changes to Training Requirements for Special Police Officers

Thursday, June 9, 2016

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser, Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice Kevin Donahue, Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier, and Director of the Department of Consumer of Regulatory Affairs Melinda Bolling announced proposed changes to the training requirements for all commissioned special police officers (SPOs) in the District.

During the announcement, Mayor Bowser also paid tribute to Stephen T. Johns, an SPO at the Holocaust Museum killed on June 10, 2009, during an attack on the museum. The shooter was then subdued by two other special police officers, Harry Weeks and Jason “Mac” McCuiston.

“Our special police officers are often the first line of defense in an emergency. With our growing and changing community, it is critical that they have the knowledge and training to handle real-world scenarios,” said Mayor Bowser. “These proposed changes to the regulations will equip them with the skill sets they need to not only protect us, but also protect themselves from danger.”

The proposed regulations would apply to more than 17,000 SPOs and security officers operating in the District. The proposal would double the hours of training required before an SPO can be assigned to patrol a location from 40 to 80. For newly-deployed SPOs, the proposal would increase the hours of on-the-job training they would need to receive and require them to be partnered with an experienced SPO for their first 80 hours of work. Each year, SPOs would need to receive 24 hours of training, triple the current requirement. Finally, for SPOs who are licensed to carry a firearm, they would need to meet the same firearms requirements as Metropolitan Police Department officers: 40 hours of initial training and eight hours of recertification training twice a year.

The mandatory training would be expanded to include addressing individuals in behavioral or mental health crisis, de-escalation procedures, biased-based policing, cultural competency and individual rights, and practical skills in CPR, AEDs, active shooter, and emergency response. SPOs assigned to libraries, recreation centers, or residential buildings or communities would be required to receive training on community policing.

The proposed regulations will be published for public comment later this month in the DC Register and submitted to the DC Council after their summer recess. The regulations would go into effect after the Council’s 45-day review period ends and SPOs would have two years to comply with the new training requirements. 

Click HERE for the full summary of the proposed regulations.