The Prince William County Police Department is looking for qualified, diverse applicants to join the force to serve a growing community. The department, with 700 officers, is attempting to increase diversity among the ranks so that it is more reflective of the county’s population.
In attempts to achieve diversity, police recruiting teams have visited several Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Police representatives also visited the Dar Al-Noor Mosque and hosted the Women in Law Enforcement recruiting event. The department is also a member of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
The police department has competitive positions for specialty units such as co-responders, criminal investigations, SWAT and more that officers can join with time on the job. “Switching over to a specialty unit, you have to be off probation,” said Prince William Officer Sergio Rivera. “Probation for us is one year after your academy graduation.”
The academy sessions, where recruits study criminal law, police department general orders and receive firearms, emergency vehicle and defensive tactics training, take six months to complete. Police recruits are paid a starting salary of $52,749, which starts when recruits enter training at the academy. People with military service and college degrees qualify for extra pay.
Qualifications for a position with the department include a high school diploma, a GED or equivalent. Applicants must also pass a background check along with physical fitness assessment and polygraph tests. Once those requirements are met, candidates meet with the police chief for an interview.
The department’s work schedule is favorable, Rivera said. “We offer a very unique work schedule, just working 15 days out of the month, which is very beneficial to police officers and their quality of life.”
The police department participates in the Virginia Retirement system which offers a full retirement after 25 years of service. Employees are vested in the system after five years.
Applying for a position starts with a visit to www.joinpwcpd.org. “The application process takes anywhere from about three to four months. It just begins with you going on our website,” Rivera said. “Once you go on the website, there’s a small little box that says, ‘Apply Now,’ that will begin your initial application,”