DC Police Opens New Cadet Corps Training Center

Hiring police officers right now is difficult. But DC police say the relaunch of the MPD Cadet Corps program has proven hugely popular and provides a new source of recruits who can help fill the ranks of an understaffed department preparing for even more departures. in the years to come.

Police Chief Robert Contee, a former Cadet Corps member who rose through the ranks, was joined on Wednesday by DC Mayor Muriel Bowser for the opening of the new MPD Cadet Corps Training Center in southeast DC.

The facility, a few blocks from the Anacostia subway station, began development after it became clear that space at the MPD training academy near Blue Plains was too limited.



“This facility is what we expect – the excellence we expect from our youngsters,” Contee said. “If we expect excellence from them, we have to invest excellence in them and we certainly do that with that investment today.”

The Cadet Corps program is open to district residents between the ages of 17 and 24. With nearly 100 cadets currently, the district hopes to grow to about 150 in the next fiscal year. The Training Center, on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, provides the classroom and instructional space cadets will need as they progress through the training academy.

The new MPD Cadet Corps Training Center in Southeast DC (WTOP/John Domen)

“To be honest with you, it was a real mess,” Contee said, describing how the cadet corps had to share space with the department’s regular academy classes.

The new facility is where cadets will go to take classes outside of their regular schooling at DCPS if they are one of the 12th graders involved in the program, or UDC, where cadets work to graduate. of partner.

“What we wanted to do was mirror the training academy experience that takes place at the training academy, but put our cadets in a place that we can all be proud of,” Contee said.

Cadets no longer in high school can start with a salary of over $36,000, while those still in high school start at around $17 an hour. Once they get their associate’s degree and can become a recruit, the pay jumps up to around $60,000 a year.

Currently, the city has another 86 cadets in preparation. On top of that, Contee said, another 40 young people are signed up for a “prospect day” this weekend, where interested residents can begin their application process and take tests and background checks.

“The impact this program can have on our youth is tremendous,” Contee said. “The lives of our young people can change with just one decision. The trajectory of my life changed with that same decision.

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