During World War II, District of Columbia residents were protected by the Civil Defense Force, which was organized to assist against the threat of attack on the nation's capital. After the war, while civil defense was no longer a top priority, it became apparent that an organized reserve force would benefit the municipal police by assisting them in carrying out their every day responsibilities.
The Metropolitan Police Reserve Corps was established in November 1948. Public law passed in 1950 gave authority to the Chief of Police, at his discretion, to select, organize, train, and equip certain residents of the District and the metropolitan area in a special reserve unit known as the Metropolitan Police Reserve Corps. The members of this force served without pay.
Members of the new Reserve Corps were first deployed on October 31, 1951, to guard fire alarm boxes to prevent the sounding of false alarms Halloween Night. In 1961, the Reserve Corps was called to duty and sworn in to assist with the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy. Throughout the 1960s, the Reserve Corps was frequently called upon to assist with demonstrations and civil insurgence arising from national tragedies such as the assassinations of President Kennedy, his brother Senator Robert F. Kennedy, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In 1970, an MPD general order set forth the policy, procedures, and responsibilities of the Reserve Corps. This general order was updated and reissued most recently in March 2006. As such, the Reserve Corps has been brought to a state of readiness for community service and is an integral part of the MPD.