How to Become a Police Officer in Virginia Beach

The Virginia Beach Police Department (VBPD) has the unique job of serving a major city and community of residents as well as the thousands of tourists that converge on the area in warmer months. Virginia Beach has a population of 437,994 and is still growing. It is the largest city in Virginia and a top tourist destination. The visitors are drawn to the many miles of sandy beaches as well as restaurants, resorts, and sporting events. The procedure for becoming a police officer with the VBPD is outlined below.

Virginia Beach Police Officer Requirements

To qualify for a position as a cop on the Virginia Beach force, a candidate must meet certain minimum requirements. Candidates must be at least 20 years old to apply and 21 at the time that training is completed. New recruits must also have US citizenship and be eligible for a valid Virginia or North Carolina driver’s license. A high school diploma or GED is required, and although not a requirement, most candidates have some college education or experience from military service.

The first step in the process of becoming an officer with the VBPD is to apply online and complete a personal history questionnaire. A written test comes next, followed by a physical fitness test. Recruits who pass these tests with adequate scores may then undergo a background investigation, an interview, a polygraph examination, and psychological and medical examinations.

For more information about how to become a cop in a typical big city, see 10 Steps to Becoming a Police Officer on our home page. If you are ready to apply, find specific application information on the Virginia Beach Police Department Employment page.

Chief of Police Jim Cervera has been the leader of the Department since 2010 and has been with the VBPD since 1978. Cervera has worked as a Sergeant, on the SWAT team as a team leader, and as a Captain on the Labor Day Task Force. Before being promoted to Chief, Cervera served as the Deputy Chief of the Department for ten years. Cervera holds degrees in criminal justice and public administration.

Virginia Beach Police Department Information

The VBPD is the largest city law enforcement agency in Virginia and is divided into four large precincts. There are over 800 sworn officers on the force as well as nearly 1,000 civilian employees, and 44 animal control officers working with a large operating budget that makes up 5% of the city’s total budget.1

Virginia Beach Police Training Academy

Once hired by the VBPD, new recruits must pass the 26-week basic training course at the Law Enforcement Training Academy. The Academy is a large and state-of-the-art facility which prepares new cops to be certified as sworn officers and to be prepared to work in Virginia Beach. In addition to basic training, the Academy offers in-service training to law enforcement agents with the VPBD and other nearby agencies.

Virginia Beach Police Salary and Jobs Outlook

During academy training, new VBPD recruits earn a salary of $41,104, which rises to $43,280 after graduation.1 Officers have the opportunity to advance to master police officer status after six years on the force. This comes with added responsibilities and a greater salary. The average salary for an officer in the Virginia Beach area is $49,090.2

Growth in police officer positions throughout Virginia is expected to be strongly positive over the coming years. Between now and 2022, the growth is projected to be 12.7%, much higher than the average, and those looking for positions can expect to see an average of 810 new openings each year.3 For more information on current MPD law enforcement positions, take a look at our jobs board page.

More Information on the Virginia Beach Police Department and Crime

The VBPD encourages members of the community to get involved with the Department and learn more about the role that law enforcement plays in the city. Residents can do that by applying to go on a Ride Along, during which they get to see what officers do each day. Residents can also choose to participate in the Citizens Police Academy, which meets once a week for several weeks and gives participants a more in-depth look at what the VBPD does.

Contact Information

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VirginiaBeachPD
Twitter: @VBPD

Virginia Beach Police Department
2509 Princess Anne Road
Virginia Beach, VA 23456

Additional Resources

  1. Virginia Beach Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #8: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Virginia-Beach-Fraternal-Order-of-Police-Lodge-8/143694049001635?sk=info
  2. The Fraternal Order of Police of Virginia State Lodge: https://fopofva.com/

1. Virginia Beach Police Department: https://www.vbgov.com/government/departments/police/Pages/default.aspx
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA, NC: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_47260.htm#33-0000
3. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm