Police officers are in high demand, and it can be difficult to find the perfect job.
When looking for a new opportunity, police applicants want to know that they have an equal chance of being hired by any given department, that the city has a good quality of life, and that there are plenty of opportunities for advancement.
The following is our top 10 list of best sheriff’s offices and police departments in Virginia at which you could work!
However, before applying to any department, be sure to check out the specific requirements and make sure you meet all of them!
Table of Contents
About The State of Virginia
Virginia is the birthplace of eight United States presidents, more than any other state.
The capital of Virginia is Richmond, and its largest city is Virginia Beach.
In 1776, the Commonwealth of Virginia declared independence from Great Britain during the American Revolution.
The state is known for its historic sites and attractions. The first Europeans to settle in Virginia were Englishmen who arrived nearly 400 years ago in Jamestown beginning in 1607.
Virginia has a total area of 42,774 square miles, making it the 35th-largest state.
Its average population density is 129.0 inhabitants per square mile, and its median household income is $66,262+.
It is nicknamed “The Old Dominion” due to its status as one of the 13 original states in the United States prior to the American Revolution.
The cost of living in Virginia is relatively low, and its diversity makes it a desirable place to live for many people.
Top 10 Best Police Department Agencies in Virginia
Now that we have finished talking about Virginia as a state, let’s take a look at the top departments in which you can apply to be an officer.
Richmond Police Department
The Richmond Police Department is located in the capital of Virginia and offers a wide variety of opportunities for police officers.
With a population of over 220,000 people, there is always something happening in Richmond!
Officers with the Richmond PD have plenty of opportunities for advancement and are sure to be challenged every day with the wide variety of calls for service.
The department has a number of specialized units including Motorcycle Patrol, Mounted Unit, Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT), Marine Enforcement, K-911 Bomb Squad, Bike Patrol Unit, Air Support Unit, and more!
There is also an Explorer Post for young adults interested in law enforcement.
Arlington County Police Department
The Arlington County Police Department is located in the heart of Northern Virginia and serves a population of over 207,000 people.
Officers with the ACPD are able to take advantage of excellent training opportunities, as well as career advancement options.
In addition to its Patrol Bureau, Criminal Investigations Division (CID), Traffic Section, Special Operations Section, and other divisions, the Arlington County PD also has a K-911 Dog Unit!
The department is always looking for qualified individuals to become officers and offers excellent benefits.
Virginia Beach Police Department
With a population of over 450,000 people and an area covering nearly 80 square miles, the Virginia Beach Police Department is one of the largest law enforcement agencies in Virginia.
As part of its mission to provide public safety throughout the city, including patrolling land and waterways with three marine units maintained by VBPD’s Harbor Unit (which also patrols the Virginia Beach oceanfront), the Department offers a range of opportunities for career advancement.
In addition to its Patrol and Investigations Divisions, VBPD has specialized units including those focused on narcotics investigations, gangs, criminal intelligence, domestic violence, forensics/crime scene investigation, K-12 school resource officers (SRO), and more.
In 2016, the Department was named one of Law Enforcement News’ Top 30 Best Police Departments in America.
Police Officer salaries are very competitive and include a full benefits package (healthcare & pension).
Applicants must be 21 years old with a valid driver’s license and a high school diploma/GED.
The City of Virginia Beach is a wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family. With its world-famous boardwalk, miles of sandy beaches, and an array of restaurants and nightlife options, the city offers something for everyone.
Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office
The Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office is one of the largest law enforcement agencies in Virginia and serves a population of over 300,000+ people.
In addition to its Patrol Division (which includes Special Operations and Homeland Security), CCSO has specialized units focused on narcotics investigations (the Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Enforcement Unit), community outreach (the Community Outreach Unit), and K-12 school resource officers.
Like other Virginia law enforcement agencies, CCSO offers career advancement opportunities via its Technical Specialty Division, which includes several units:
- Equine Services;
- Canine Program/K-9
- School Resource Officer program
- Firearm Training Range
- Fleet Maintenance & Repair
- Forensic Identification Services
- Information Technology & Support Services.
CCSO also has a dedicated Records Division, Property/Evidence Section, and Court Security Unit.
Police Officers with CCSO start at a very competitive salary (with benefits) and can earn more with overtime pay.
Fairfax City Police Department
The Fairfax City Police Department, a city with a population of just over 24,000 people and an area covering just over five square miles, is one of the smallest law enforcement agencies in Virginia.
FCPD offers a range of opportunities for career advancement and has several specialized units including those focused on narcotics investigations (the Metro Narcotics Unit), community outreach/crime prevention education (Community Police Officers), K-12 school resource officers (SRO), and forensics/crime scene investigation.
Police Officers with FCPD start at a very competitive salary (with benefits) and can earn more with overtime pay.
The City of Fairfax is a wonderful place to live, and is considered to be one of the safest places in Virginia.
Additionally, Fairfax City boasts a cost of living that far outpaces that of other major cities like Richmond and Washington D.C., with much lower crime rates as well!
Chesterfield County Police Department
Chesterfield County is one of Virginia’s fastest-growing counties, with a population that has increased over the past decade.
The Chesterfield County Police Department (CCPD) is responsible for law enforcement within the county and city.
The CCPD offers a wide range of opportunities for career advancement, including specialized units such as SWAT, aviation, K-12 school resource officers, and a D.A.R.E program for elementary school students.
CCPD also has several opportunities to serve in specialized areas if you have an interest in a particular field, such as forensics or information technology.
Officers with CCPD start at a very competitive salary (with benefits) and can earn more with overtime pay.
The county is located in the Greater Richmond area and has a cost of living that is lower than other major cities in Virginia.
Fredericksburg Police Department
With a population of over 27,000 people, Fredericksburg is the perfect area for families and police officers.
With a cost of living that’s almost 20% lower than the national average, Fredericksburg is a city that has affordable housing and great schools.
The small-town feel of this community makes it easy to meet your neighbors while still enjoying all the luxuries of nearby cities like Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Richmond.
Fredericksburg Police Department hires talented individuals with diverse background.
The department offers competitive salaries and awesome benefits, including: health insurance, retirement plans, sick days/vacation time, uniforms, training, and equipment.
Henrico County Police Department
Henrico County Police Department has a population of over 300,000 people.
With an average salary of over $65K and great benefits (including health insurance), Henrico is one of the top law enforcement agencies in Virginia to work for.
The department offers training courses as well as specialized assignments like Marine Patrol, SWAT, K-9 (Search and Rescue), Lake Patrol & Boat Squad.
Richmond Police Department With over 270 sworn officers, the Richmond Police Department has many opportunities for you to grow professionally in your field of expertise.
As a police officer at this agency, you will have access to a number of different training courses that will help you develop your skills.
Norfolk Sheriff’s Office
Norfolk Sheriff’s Office is a full-service law enforcement agency.
With over 800 employees, the Sheriff’s office offers competitive salaries and great benefits (including health insurance).
The department has more than 50 specialty units as well as divisions such as; Civil War Museum, Professional Standards Bureau & Communications Center, to name a few.
Hopewell Police Departments
The Hopewell Police Department is located in the City of Hopewell, Virginia. The department employs sworn officers and civilian personnel to provide police services to the city’s citizens.
The department has a rich history dating back to 1798, when it was first established as a night watchman service.
The Hopewell Police Department offers excellent career advancement opportunities for qualified police officers.
The cost of living in Hopewell is very low, making it an attractive place to live and work.
If you are interested in a career in law enforcement, the Hopewell Police Department should be at the top of your list.
These are just a few of the many great law enforcement agencies in Virginia.
No matter which agency you choose to work for, you will be making a positive impact on your community.
Thank you for reading! I hope this article was helpful. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below. 🙂
FAQ About Becoming a Police Officer in VA
Below are some frequently asked questions about becoming a police officer in Virginia.
How do I become a police officer in Virginia?
In order to become a police officer in the state of Virginia, you must meet the following requirements:
- Be at least 21 years old
- Have a high school diploma or equivalent
- Possess a valid driver’s license
- Be a U.S. citizen or have permanent resident status
- Pass the Virginia State Police entrance exam
- Complete an accredited law enforcement training academy
Are there any special requirements for becoming a sheriff’s deputy in Virginia?
Yes, there are some additional requirements to become a sheriff’s deputy in Virginia. In addition to meeting the basic requirements listed above, you must also be at least 21 years old and have a minimum of two years of full-time law enforcement experience.
What are the salary and benefits for police officers in Virginia?
Salaries for police officers in Virginia vary depending on the agency you work for. However, most agencies offer competitive salaries and excellent benefits, including health insurance and paid sick leave.
Most police officers work 40-hour work weeks with a variety of shifts to choose from. Some police officers may be required to remain on call even while they are off duty.
In order for you to receive full benefits at your law enforcement agency in Virginia, you must complete an accredited training academy within a year of being hired.
What are the benefits of working for a sheriff’s office in Virginia?
The benefits of becoming a police officer at the Sheriff’s Office are numerous. Some of these include:
- Excellent starting salary (starting salary depends on where you work)
- Access to excellent training programs
- Career advancement opportunities
- Excellent benefits, including health insurance.
What is a deputy sheriff? How do I become one?
A deputy sheriff is a peace officer who works for a local Sheriff’s Office or County Police Department.
To be considered as an entry-level candidate at these types of agencies, you must meet the basic requirements listed above and pass an entrance exam.
In order to become a deputy sheriff in Virginia, you must be at least 21 years old and have a minimum of two years’ full-time law enforcement experience.
After you are hired, you will be required to complete an accredited training academy.
How long does it take to become a police officer in Virginia?
The amount of time it takes for someone to become a police officer in Virginia depends on the type of agency you are applying to.
The process can take anywhere from six months up to two years, depending on your background check and training requirements.
How much does it cost to become a police officer?
The costs associated with becoming a law enforcement agent vary greatly by state and even within individual agencies.
In Virginia, the cost of training to become a law enforcement officer can range from $2000-$10000. This fee usually includes all your necessary equipment, such as uniforms and firearms.
Are there any specialties I can pursue in law enforcement?
Yes, there are many specialties you can pursue within the field of law enforcement. Some of these include:
- S.W.A.T (Special Weapons and Tactics)
- K-12 School Resource Officer
- Narcotics Enforcement
- Emergency Response Team
- Criminal Investigator Detectives
- Drug Enforcement Agent
Can I become a police officer in VA if I have a felony on my record?
In most cases, a felony conviction will disqualify you from becoming a law enforcement officer in Virginia.
However, it is possible to become a police officer in Virginia if you have had your felony conviction expunged or pardoned.
Contact the agency you are interested in working for to find out if you are eligible.
What is the average salary for a police officer in Virginia?
The average salary of a police officer in Virginia is $60,000+.
Usually, salaries increase as you gain more experience and training with your agency.
Make sure to research the salary and benefits of the agency you are interested in working for before applying.