The U.S. Capitol Police dismissed about one-quarter of its latest group of recruits after discovering the individuals had been hired despite failing criminal background checks, psychological exams and other employment criteria, the Washington Post reports. The 15 recruits, who were about halfway through a 12-week training course in Georgia, were recalled to Washington and told yesterday to resign within five days or be fired. Some of the recruits had criminal records.
The turmoil marks the latest embarrassment for the Capitol Police, who have been criticized for security lapses even as their budget has tripled to about $280 million since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The force has expanded rapidly and now has 1,600 sworn officers. It offers a starting salary of nearly $52,000 a year plus benefits. After 30 months on the job, a private first class is paid more than $60,000. One source said the department’s leaders became aware of the hiring blunder after an unusually high number of recruits dropped out of two previous classes at the training academy.