WASHINGTON - D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser made a big budget announcement Friday that aims to recruit more police officers in the District.
Mayor Bowser said Friday that the Metropolitan Police Department is offering a $20,000 hiring bonus for new MPD officers. Qualified applicants will also be eligible for an additional $6,000 housing stipend on top of that.
Mayor Bowser and MPD Police Chief Robert Contee hopes the extra money will make D.C. more competitive for new officer recruits. Some nearby jurisdictions currently offer signing bonuses, but the MPD's promises to pay more. Right now, Baltimore offers a $10,000 signing bonus and Virginia State Police offer a $5,000 bonus for new recruits.
Another incentive Bowser and Contee hope will help draw new recruits to D.C. is the ability for MPD officers to take home police vehicles. Mayor Bowser said that incentive is a budget priority for 2023.
The extra funding for new hires is part of the mayor's 2023 fiscal year budget, which boasts plans to put D.C. on a path toward having over 4,000 sworn police officers. The new budget will allow MPD to bring in 347 new officers in 2023.
"We know in your community we need a whole of government approach we need police, we need substance abuse support, we need traffic support, and we also need our regulatory agencies to work on vacancy and blight... very committed to working on the systemic issues," Mayor Bowser tells FOX 5.
In addition to the focus on new officer recruitment, Chief Contee said MPD is also focused on recruiting more women. Right now, women make up 23 percent of MPD's sworn officers, ahead of the national average, but Chief Contee wants to get that number to 30 percent by 2030.