Green card holders now eligible to become police officers in Washington D.C.

The number of D.C. police officers has hit a record low due to the city's laws surrounding policing, according to former D.C. police Chief Robert Contee.

Published: July 10, 2023 1:00pm

The municipal police force for the nation's capitol is now allowing so-called "green card" holders to become police officers.

Previously, only U.S. citizens were eligible to become officers with the Metropolitan Police Department, according to WTOP News.

People in the U.S. who have green cards are non-citizens, known as lawful permanent residents holders, who are lawfully authorized to live permanently within country.

The criteria was updated in the city’s Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Act of 2022, which took effect in April.

“As an agency, we truly believe that a workforce that represents our community brings a variety of ideas, experiences, and perspectives. Together, this blend drives innovation and growth,” said interim Chief of Police Ashan Benedict. “This step marks a significant milestone in our journey, as we look forward to welcoming a more diverse pool of applicants."

However, the change also comes amid an MPD staffing shortage. 

The department said in February it was nearing a record low of 3,400 officers, WTOP News also reports.

The goal for the D.C. government and police department is to reach 4,200 officers in the next 10 years. The city announced a $25,000 signing bonus in April to attract new officers.

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