The Prince William County Police Department is seeking to diversify its ranks, building a force that it is more reflective of the county’s population, which studies show can help build trust, lower use of force incidents and lead to crimes being solved more quickly.
Recently, police recruiting teams have visited several Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the Dar Al-Noor Mosque. The department also hosted a Women in Law Enforcement event this summer, and is active in the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
The police department is also emphasizing diversity in the ways officers can serve, with specialty units such as co-responders, criminal investigations and SWAT. Prince William Officer Sergio Rivera explained that new officers become eligible to apply to speciality units after one year on the job. The application process is competitive.
Police 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, beginning when they 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, 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