Our Training Philosophy
ACPD is committed to fostering a training environment which produces police officers that can serve our diverse and inclusive community with the utmost professionalism. Our Training and Career Development Unit is tasked with ensuring that training throughout the agency is consistent, aligns with smart practices, meets the needs and expectations of our community, and utilizes the most progressive and proven methods. Our officers are equipped with extensive knowledge, skills and abilities so they can successfully manage and safely resolve a range of incidents, which span from basic calls for service, such as neighborhood disputes, to active violence incidents. Training is centered around the principles of de-escalation, is based upon realistic scenarios and builds upon officer experiences.
Over the past five years, our sworn staff has attended over 55,000 hours of training annually. This training covers topics such as legal issues/review, cultural diversity, implicit bias, ethics, verbal judo, conflict communications, defensive tactics, firearms, active violence response, tactical emergency casualty care (TECC), investigations, and other topics related to the daily responsibilities of a police officer.
Training For New Officers
Recruit officers are paid their full salary plus benefits throughout the pre-academy, academy and post-academy training.
Pre-Academy Training (date of hire until Academy session begins)
Prior to each academy session at the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Training Academy, recruit officers are trained in shooting fundamentals, geography, constitutional law, departmental policy, functional fitness and formation by ACPD’s Training and Career Development Unit. This training is complementary to what is offered at the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Training Academy and is the foundation to the successful start of the basic training program.
Basic Training at the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Training Academy (NVCJA)
After being hired by the Department, new officers begin their training at the NVCJA, a regional academy offering high quality, professional training to recruit officers who will go on to serve agencies in Northern Virginia. Recruit officers enrolled in the Basic Law Enforcement School complete over 800 hours of training curriculum, which orients them to the diverse day-to-day challenges experienced by law enforcement personnel while on the job. NVCJA is a commuter academy, typically in session Tuesday-Friday each week. Academy sessions begin twice yearly in July and January and last six months.
Following local training, the new officers complete the Department’s 12-week Field Training Program. Officers work alongside a Field Training Officer (FTO), who serves as a mentor to them throughout field training. The FTO is also responsible for teaching and evaluating them as they begin to apply knowledge gained during basic training at the academy to real world situations they encounter when responding to calls for service. Following successful completion of field training, the officers begin solo patrol.
Training Throughout Your Career
External Training Opportunities
As a member organization of NVCJA, officers in Arlington County have access to more than 130 different programs through their Professional Development Training program, as well as training opportunities through reciprocal agreements with the Fairfax County and Prince William County Criminal Justice Academies.
Personnel regularly participate in additional training opportunities offered through Federal and State law enforcement agencies, both locally and outside the National Capital Region. This includes offerings through the FBI National Academy, FEMA courses in Incident Command, Hazmat courses and courses offered through New Mexico Tech on explosives.
Internal Training Opportunities
Personnel regularly participate in internal training opportunities throughout the year on tactics, vehicle operations, firearms, department programs, initiatives and other relevant topics.
The Department has also developed a number of programs to prepare its officers for Active Violence Events, led by the Tactical Training Unit and the Arlington County High Threat Response Program.
- Tactical Training Unit: This unit provides training that integrates the disciplines of Active Violence Response, Tactical Emergency Casualty Care (TECC), Control Tactics, Firearms, General Tactical Instruction and Taser. Patrol officers have a minimum of 6 training days per year provided by TTU, in addition to other training opportunities.
- High Threat Response Program: The Department has dedicated a full-time officer to this program to ensure an integrated response to Active Violence Incidents by police, fire and other County/Regional agencies. This integrated response is reinforced through collaborative training.
Additionally, the department is committed to our Crisis Intervention Training program. This training equips officers with the knowledge and skills necessary to deal with a situation involving a person in a mental crisis. However, many of the skills learned are often used to deescalate a variety of situations, regardless of the mental status of parties involved.