Police Officer Requirements – Virginia

Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services

§ 15.2-1705. Minimum qualifications; waiver.

  1. The chief of police and all police officers of any locality, all deputy sheriffs and jail officers in this Commonwealth, and all law-enforcement officers as defined in § 9.1-101 who enter upon the duties of such office after July 1, 1994, are required to meet the following minimum qualifications for office. Such person shall
    1. be a citizen of the United States,
    2. be required to undergo a background investigation including fingerprint-based criminal history records inquiries to both the Central Criminal Records Exchange and the Federal Bureau of Investigation,
    3. have a high school education or have passed a high school equivalency examination approved by the Board of Education,
    4. possess a valid driver’s license if required by the duties of office to operate a motor vehicle,
    5. undergo a physical examination, subsequent to a conditional offer of employment, conducted under the supervision of a licensed physician,
    6. be at least eighteen years of age,
    7. not have been convicted of or pled guilty or no contest to a felony or any offense that would be a felony if committed in the Commonwealth, and
    8. not have produced a positive result on a pre-employment drug screening, if such screening is required by the hiring law-enforcement agency or jail, where the positive result cannot be explained to the law-enforcement agency or jail administrator’s satisfaction. In addition, all such officers who enter upon the duties of such office on or after July 1, 2013, shall not have been convicted of or pled guilty or no contest to
      1. any misdemeanor involving moral turpitude, including but not limited to petit larceny under § 18.2-96, or any offense involving moral turpitude that would be a misdemeanor if committed in the Commonwealth,
      2. any misdemeanor sex offense in the Commonwealth, another state, or the United States, including but not limited to sexual battery under § 18.2-67.4 or consensual sexual intercourse with a minor 15 or older under clause (ii) of § 18.2-371, or
      3. domestic assault under § 18.2-57.2 or any offense that would be domestic assault under the laws of another state or the United States.
  2. Upon request of a sheriff or chief of police, or the director or chief executive of any agency or department employing law-enforcement officers as defined in § 9.1-101, or jail officers as defined in § 53.1-1, the Department of Criminal Justice Services is hereby authorized to waive the requirements for qualification as set out in subsection A of this section for good cause shown.

PRE-EMPLOYMENT REQUIREMENTS

1. Purpose

The following requirements are provided to certified criminal justice academies which allow individuals to attend mandated entry level training programs who are not currently employed by a Virginia criminal justice agency as defined by Section 9.1- 1 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended.

2. Certified Academy Requirements

  1. The governing body of each academy shall acquire and maintain liability insurance necessary to provide coverage for the academy in the event of litigation.
  2. The governing body of each academy shall prepare and require each pre-employment applicant to sign a “hold harmless agreement” to limit the exposure of the certified academy of liability. Such signature shall be witnessed by a notary public and therefore attested to.
  3. Any pre-employment applicant must be at least eighteen (18) years of age.
  4. Each pre-employment applicant shall be provided, in writing, a copy of the certified training academy rules of conduct and safety prior to being allowed to attend training and must sign an agreement to adhere to such rules. Each pre-employment applicant shall be advised, in writing, of disciplinary procedures and possible consequences in conjunction with any rules violation.
  5. Each academy shall prepare a list of additional equipment and expendable supply needs, beyond the cost of tuition, as may be required for the mandated entry-level training program the pre-employment student will be attending.
  6. Each academy shall prepare a document to be provided to the pre-employment applicant indicating the physical tasks which are a part of the training process and which will be required of the pre-employment student candidate.
  7. All requirements of applicable rules, regulations and policy established by the academy or the Criminal Justice Services Board shall be followed.
  8. Each certified training academy shall establish the tuition cost(s) associated with pre-employment training.
  9. Each certified training academy shall adopt a policy pertaining to reimbursement in the event of early withdrawal of a pre-employment student. The policy must address pre-employment student withdrawal, pre-employment student failure, disciplinary expulsion and any other situations which may constitute the need for a pre-employment student refund.
  10. Each participating academy shall create an applicant review committee for the purpose of reviewing applications and all requirements which must be completed prior to acceptance in a pre-employment training school. The committee shall be composed of a minimum of three (3) persons excluding academy staff. It shall be the responsibility of this committee to review all potential students’ applications and supporting documentation and decide eligibility to participate.
  11. Each participating academy shall develop policies consistent with current state and federal laws relative to sexual harassment and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  12. Participating academies shall develop a procedure to provide evidence that such policies have been distributed, and are understood.
  13. L. Each participating academy shall develop a policy which details the academy responsibility to conduct residential and employment background investigations of each potential applicant to be considered for acceptance in a pre- employment training program. Minimally, the background investigation will consist of a National Crime Information Center
    (NCIC) and Virginia Criminal Information network (VCIN) check for criminal history.
  14. Upon completion of pre-employment training, the academy director of the certified academy shall indicate completion of training by a pre-employment student within sixty (60) days on a Form 41.
  15. Policies developed which stipulate requirements for the admission of a pre-employment applicant into approved certified academy training shall be distributed to the applicant prior to their making application for acceptance. The certified academy may choose to distribute individual policies, a memorandum of understanding which contains the contents of all policies or a fact sheet(s) which contain all required policy information.

3. Individual Applicant Requirements:

Virginia criminal justice agencies have various hiring requirements which may vary from agency to agency. Therefore, attendance and completion of state mandated training does not guarantee an offer of employment by a Virginia criminal justice agency.

The governing body of each academy shall require each pre-employment applicant to provide evidence of the following prior to admission to any entry-level training program mandated by the Criminal Justice Services Board and related to a mandated training requirement:

  1. Pre-employment applicants must be a citizen of the United States. Such evidence shall consist of an original birth certificate issued by the state agency responsible for the issuance of such birth certificates. Copy reproductions are unacceptable. Any pre-employment applicant currently in good standing in the citizenship naturalization process may be accepted.
  2. Pre-employment applicants must present a valid driver’s license. This requirement may not apply to applicants attending training other than entry-level law enforcement.
  3. Pre-employment applicants must have a high school education or have passed a high school equivalency examination approved by the Board of Education. This provision is optional in conjunction with the academy policy for any individual applying to attend an entry level pre-employment dispatcher training program.
  4. The pre-employment applicant must complete a physical examination and be determined to be in good physical health and capable of completing the physical requirements as specified in the DCJS Physical Exam Policy of the entry-level training program which the applicant will be attending. The pre-employment applicant is responsible for the costs associated with any physical examination. This provision is optional in conjunction with the academy policy for any individual applying to attend an pre-employment entry level dispatcher training program.
  5. The pre-employment applicant must meet the minimum qualifications as set forth in the Code of Virginia § 15.2-1705 and have a completed criminal history check to ensure that the pre-employment student applicant has not been convicted of, or plead guilty or no contest to any of the offenses that have been identified in § 15.2-1705 of the Code of Virginia. The criminal history records check is to be conducted by a Virginia criminal justice agency and shall, at a minimum, include Virginia fingerprint based criminal history records examination. The parameters and costs for such testing shall be designated in a manner prescribed by the academy governing body. Each pre-employment applicant shall agree to sign a written release authorizing criminal history record information to be released directly to the certified academy to which the applicant is applying.
  6. Each pre-employment applicant shall be required to take a drug test administered by a physician or drug testing facility which shall be approved by the certified training academy. The parameters and costs for such testing shall be designated in a manner prescribed by the academy governing body. The pre-employment applicant shall agree to report the findings of the drug test screening in a manner designated by the academy.
  7. The pre-employment applicant may be required, in accordance with written policy established by the certified training academy, to submit to literacy testing, psychological testing or other screening devices. The parameters and costs for such testing shall be designated in a manner prescribed by the academy governing body.
  8. Each pre-employment student shall be required to sign an agreement attesting that all information provided as part of the application process is true and correct. The agreement shall include an acknowledgment by the applicant that, misleading or falsified information constitutes grounds for immediate dismissal and all training received shall be considered null and void.

4. Additional Qualifiers:

It shall be the responsibility of the Virginia criminal justice agency employing a pre-employment student graduate to ensure that the following additional requirements are met prior to employment or within twelve months of date of employment, whichever is specified:

  1. Subsequent to employment, each pre-employment student graduate must comply with all field training or on the job training requirements as required by applicable rules. No credit toward mandated field training or on the job training may be attained during pre-employment student status.
  2. Prior to employment as a law enforcement officer or deputy sheriff, the chief of police, sheriff or agency administrator must ensure that the pre-employment student graduate has complied with all requirements of Section 15.2-1705 of the Code of Virginia.
  3. Driver training and firearms training may be attended for completion of training requirements in those academies that require the applicant to have a law enforcement agency sponsoring the individual. Such training shall only be valid for the time period specified and only if the individual is subsequently employed by a Virginia criminal justice agency.
  4. Subsequent to employment, each pre-employment student graduate must qualify with the firearm carried in the performance of duty. The following requirements apply:
    1. If the individual did not attend and successfully complete firearms training as part of the approved pre-employment training school, the individual must attend an approved entry level training school, attend, and successfully complete all firearms classroom and range training.
    2. If the individual attended and satisfactorily completed both classroom and range training in an approved pre-employment training school, the individual must meet the firearms requirements of in-service training including the safety and legal updates as well as qualifying with the handgun carried in the performance of duty on an approved in-service training course as well as qualifying with any other weapons to which the individual will have access.
  5. Subsequent to employment, each pre-employment graduate must complete all behind the wheel driver training range exercises with a law enforcement vehicle or certified academy vehicle acceptable to the employing agency.

5. Disqualifiers:

The following are conditions which will cause the applicant/student to be immediately disqualified or removed from any pre-employment training program conducted by a certified training academy.

  1. No applicant for pre-employment student status may be accepted into an approved entry-level training program mandated by the Criminal Justice Services Board if any of the provisions of “Individual Requirements,” of this policy are not met.
  2. Any student found to have provided false information, misleading information or has omitted information which is required to be submitted as part of the application process shall be immediately dismissed from any pre-employment training program.
  3. No applicant shall be admitted if the individual is prohibited from carrying a firearm by federal or Commonwealth law or statutory authority.

6. General Applications:

  1. Successful completion of pre-employment training is valid for a period not to exceed twenty-four (24) months from the date of completion of the mandated pre-employment entry-level training program.
  2. Upon employment, the pre-employment graduate may be eligible for a training extension for completion of the field training in accordance with law.

SUMMARY

Age applicant must be at least eighteen (18) years of age
Education High School Diploma or G.E.D
Citizenship US Citizen

Other Requirements:

  • Valid driver’s license
  • Complete a physical examination
  • Undergo Criminal history check
  • Take a drug test
  • Submit to literacy testing, psychological testing or other screening devices
  • Sign an agreement attesting that all information provided as part of the application process is true and correct
  • Comply with all field training or on the job training requirements
  • Driver training and firearms training may be attended for completion of training requirements in those academies that require the applicant to have a law enforcement agency sponsoring the individual.
  • Qualify with the firearm carried in the performance of duty