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D.C. police expect a slight increase in officer numbers next fiscal year, marking a turnaround – NBC4 Washington

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For the first time in years, D.C. police expect to have more officers in the next fiscal year than the previous one.

The Metropolitan Police Department, like other departments across the country, has struggled to keep up with staffing levels. Over the past 10 years, MPD has been unable to hire enough new officers to keep up with the number of departures. At the same time, crime in the district increased.

This fiscal year, the department expects to swear in 18 more officers than it had left, D.C. Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice Lindsey Appiah told News4.

“We're seeing really good recruiting numbers … and in this budget we're going to see an actual net increase in officers rather than either staying the same or continuing to decline,” she said.

While 18 more officers may not seem like a lot in a department that has nearly 700 officers, MPD has lost more officers than it has hired in eight of the last decade. As recently as fiscal year 2021, the DC Police Department lost 219 more officers than it hired.

Now the number will be positive for the first time in seven years, which Appiah attributes to incentives such as signing bonuses and a new union contract.

“And certainly it’s some of the money,” she said. “Housing, housing benefit, because we really want people to live in the city. That was a big deal. There were some cars for takeaway, which is a big deal for the officers. A new CBA has really helped retain our mid-career officers, so to speak. So it’s really all the things we’ve found that are helpful.”

“I think we are in a good position to see positive trends going forward,” Appiah said.

MPD offers a $25,000 bonus for new hires. The annual starting salary for a police officer in Washington is just over $66,000. After five years in office, officers can earn just over $88,000 per year.