The police force responsible for protecting the Supreme Court justices and the Supreme Court building is offering financial incentives, such as signing bonuses and debt relief, to boost recruitment.
Court police hope the move will reverse staffing shortages while allowing the department to compete with regional police agencies.
According to officials, court police personnel are visiting college campuses and military bases to promote the job and its benefits.
The court currently has an authorized strength of 189 officers, but, due to security reasons, it’s unknown how many vacant positions there are.
Job postings state that there are “many vacancies” for new and experienced officers.
Since the court has reopened following its coronavirus closure in recent months, U.S. Marshals officers have stepped in to temporarily carry out duties normally conducted by high court police officers, such as screening visitors.
Due to heightened security risks, the nine justices are guarded by officers dressed in suits when traveling to or from work or around D.C.
Indeed, the job openings come amid increased security threats against the justices, such as when an armed man was arrested outside the home of Justice Brett Kavanaugh following the court’s decision to reverse Roe v. Wade.
At the court, uniformed police officers stand sentry at various spots inside and outside the building.
According to Supreme Court officials, the department is offering $5,000 recruitment bonuses and another $5,000 to transfers who stay with the department after 18 months.
Congress also recently authorized the court to forgive student loans for its officers to match U.S. Capitol Police benefits.
New hires with no previous law enforcement experience start at an annual salary of $73,852.
After three years on the force, officers get four weeks of vacation. Officers are eligible for retirement after 25 years of service, or at age 50 after 20 years of service.
The court police hope the benefits will allow them to stay competitive in the recruiting market compared with the many disparate D.C. police forces, such as those for museums, transit, parks, postal service, Amtrak, colleges and the Capitol.
Meanwhile, the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, the city’s main force, is also ramping up recruiting efforts by posting advertisements on bus stops and running spots on television in Philadelphia last fall.
Although many departments around the country are easing certain requirements by allowing visible tattoos or beards to lure officers during the tight labor market, the Supreme Court remains committed to banning visible body markings.