4-3 Career Development for Sworn Personnel

Policy Type: Local

Responsible Office: Chief of Police, Virginia Commonwealth University Police Department

Initial Policy Approved: 7/30/2013

Current Revision Approved: 9/10/2020



It is the policy of the VCU Police Department (VCUPD) to provide its personnel with the very best training and career development available to enhance their job performance, job satisfaction and opportunities for career advancement. Career Development is designed to encourage training, development, retention and community outreach, compliance with policies and regulations, and maintenance of satisfactory fitness levels. The purpose of this directive is to establish guidelines for the Career Development Program for sworn personnel, and to set forth the procedures for administration of, entrance into and advancement in the program. It is designed to encourage self-reliance for sworn personnel by promoting career planning as an on-going developmental process.


Accountability Statement

All employees are expected to fully comply with the guidelines and timelines set forth in this written directive. Failure to comply will result in appropriate corrective action. Responsibility rests with the division commander to ensure that any policy violations are investigated and appropriate training, counseling and/or disciplinary action is initiated.


Scope of the Program

The Career Development Program (CDP) is designed to foster the improvement of personal and professional skills, knowledge and abilities of sworn police personnel; to promote productive, efficient and effective job performance; to highlight the specific opportunities for individual growth and development; and to improve overall levels of individual job satisfaction.

Advancement in the Career Development Program is based on continuous experience in law enforcement. Unlike supervisory promotions, the CDP is designed to allow officers the flexibility to advance to higher salary levels without moving into a supervisory position. There is no limit to the number of officers who may advance to a specific CDP level. All officers who meet the criteria shall have an equal opportunity to advance to the next level.

The CDP shall be a voluntary program to assist sworn personnel in meeting their individual career goals. While participation is strongly advocated, there is no penalty for non-participation.


Eligibility of Entry

  1. Police officers are eligible to enter the CDP once they have successfully completed the Basic Recruit Training Academy.
  2. It is the responsibility of the individual employee to become familiar with the requirements for the CDP.
  3. In order to participate in the Career Development Program, the individual employee must submit a completed Career Development Program Advancement Request (VCUPD-63B) to the Academy Program Coordinator, to include all necessary transcripts and training records. No Career Development Program Advancement Request will be accepted without all necessary transcripts and training records attached. The employee's eligibility date for advancement will be confirmed upon approval of the completed Career Development Program Advancement Request.
  4. Pre-Certified Officers
    1. All officers with prior law enforcement experience will be placed into the Law Enforcement Officer I classification. The officer may submit a written request with justification to be placed in a higher level, which will be considered on a case-by-case basis. This request shall be submitted to the Chief of Police through the Education and Training Division Sergeant.
    2. Career development eligibility for pre-certified officers will begin one year from the officer’s hire date.
    3. Education and experience used to calculate any incentive bonuses under the Pre-Certified Officer Incentive Program may not be used in career development.
  5. Military Status – An employee's military service shall not be considered a break in employment. Members of the uniformed services are entitled to return to their previous employment upon completion of their service with the seniority, status and rate of pay they would have obtained if they had remained continuously employed by their civilian employers.
  6. The effective date for advancement to any level of the CDP shall be the officer’s “eligibility date” or the date the CDP application is received by the CDP Coordinator, whichever comes last, provided that all CDP requirements have been met.


Administration of Program

  1. The Chief of Police is the administrator of the CDP and is authorized to manage the program's operation and direction. The Program Coordinator shall serve as the Career Development Coordinator and be responsible for all career development activities.
  2. The CDP requires constant review and modifications to address occupational changes in education, technology and skill training requirements. A committee appointed by the Assistant Chief of Support Services shall oversee the Career Development Program. Committee members shall consist of the following members:
    1. Chief of Police and Assistant Chief of Police
    2. Education and Training Division Sergeant
    3. Captain of Support Services
  3. At the end of each fiscal year, the Career Development Committee shall conduct an assessment and evaluation of the program and the career development point allotment.


Career Counseling

  1. Career counseling is a primary component of the CDP.
  2. The employee's immediate supervisor will be responsible for conducting individual career counseling.
  3. The career counseling goals include all of the below:
    1. To gather data from employees regarding personal goals
    2. To encourage employees to apply for training and other assignments in the department as vacancies occur, and to earn points for their progression to the next level of the workforce planning program, if applicable
    3. To assist employees in defining and accomplishing career objectives
    4. To assist employees with problems by initiating appropriate referral procedures
  4. The immediate supervisor will review the in-service training record of each employee under their command during the employee's annual evaluation in order to assess the following:
    1. The training progress of each employee in achieving career objectives
    2. Whether the in-service training provided was utilized by the employee toward achieving the skills, knowledge and abilities required for performing present and future jobs within the agency


Supervisor Responsibilities

Annually, the supervisor shall meet with each employee for career counseling in conjunction with the annual performance evaluation. The counseling shall include an examination of all of the following:

  1. Employee’s performance record
  2. A review of training programs available to the employee
  3. A review of their level of advancement or points achieved for their progression to the next level of the workforce planning program, if applicable


Career Resources

  1. VCUPD offers a multitude of resources used to develop in-service training for the CDP, including all of the following:
    1. University resources and programs
    2. VCU Police Academy
    3. Local law enforcement partners
    4. Department of Criminal Justice Services


Educational Development Plan

  1. In fulfilling the department's commitment to provide professional police service, all employees are encouraged to further their education to the highest level possible to improve the abilities and usefulness to the department. All personnel are encouraged to achieve a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university.
  2. A tuition waiver of 6 credits, per semester, is available to full-time classified personnel at Virginia Commonwealth University. Department personnel are encouraged to take full advantage of this benefit.
  3. While it is the policy of the department to encourage every member to further their Education and Training, it remains the employee's responsibility to arrange their off-duty courses around assigned shift schedules.
  4. Educational leave is granted to employees in accordance with VCU’s Tuition Benefits, Educational and Training Opportunities policy


Workforce Planning Program

Agency sworn, non-supervisory personnel may expand their career development through participation in the Workforce Planning Program.

  1. Patrol Officer Levels of Career Development
    1. Law Enforcement Officer I
    2. Law Enforcement Officer II
    3. Law Enforcement Officer III
    4. Senior Law Enforcement Officer
    5. Master Law Enforcement Officer
  2. Requirements for each level
    1. Each level of advancement for Law Enforcement Officer levels I - III requires two years (24 months) at the current level in order to advance to the next level. Advancement to Senior Law Enforcement Officer and Master Law Enforcement Officer requires three years (36 months), respectively.
    2. Each level has a required amount of points in order to be eligible (see appendix), with 15 points assigned per level. Points can only be used once (example: 10 points for an associate’s degree can only be claimed during one step).
    3. Advancement at each level requires that an officer complete an individual Community Outreach Project (COP), approved by the Chief of Police for each level, in order to advance to the next level.
    4. Must attain the department’s minimum standard of 75% on the annual fitness assessment for advancement in career development.
  3. Disciplinary Action and Yearly Evaluation Effects on Career Development
    1. Disciplinary action received will stall an officer’s progression within each two-year career development step as follows:
      1. Active Group One offenses will prevent movement for an officer for two years
      2. Active Group Two or Three offenses will prevent movement for an officer for up to three to four years, respectively.
    2. This would not affect the officer’s ability to accumulate training points for use in the Career Development Program.
    3. Officers must achieve a rating of at least achiever on the annual performance evaluation for the year. If a rating less than achiever is received, the officer is not eligible for advancement in that year. This will not affect the officer’s points and cannot be used against the officer for a period longer than one year.
  4. Levels of achievement and point accumulation:
    1. Law Enforcement Officer I - 15 Points
    2. Law Enforcement Officer II - 30 Points
    3. Law Enforcement Officer III - 45 Points
    4. Senior Law Enforcement Officer - 60 Points
    5. Master Law Enforcement Officer - 75 Points
    6. NOTE: Each level of advancement will be a 3% increase in pay.
  5. Guidelines for Outside Training
    1. Any officer can attend outside training that enhances their career. The interested officer must submit relevant documentation regarding the training to the Chief of Police for review. All requests for the use of department time to attend outside training must be approved by the Office of the Chief of Police. If the requesting officer will be representing VCUPD at the proposed training, the officer must submit their training request documentation to the Office of the Chief of Police for preapproval prior to registering for the subject training.
    2. A training submission form must be submitted within 15 days of training completion to the Career Development Coordinator.
  6. Other Training Points
    1. Training points will be awarded for all law enforcement related topics based on the length of training. A formula has been established that allows 1 point for every 8 hours of other training. The individual officer will be responsible for calculating the amount of points to be received on the Training Submission Form. This calculation will be validated by the Education and Training Division.
    2. When an officer receives points for specialized training the officer must be willing to perform such duties that reflect the training or position. Refusal to do so will be evaluated by the Career Development Coordinator and may result in loss of points.
  7. Worn Insignia
    1. When an officer reaches the level of Senior Law Enforcement Officer, the officer will receive the sleeve worn insignia of a single chevron to be worn under the VCUPD patch on all uniforms, where applicable.
    2. When an officer reaches the level of Master Law Enforcement Officer, the officer will receive the sleeve worn insignia of a single chevron with single rocker to be worn under the VCUPD patch on all uniforms, where applicable.
    3. Worn insignia pertaining to career development does not grant supervisory powers to the senior officer or master officer.


Specialized training, awards, and/or certification(s)Point Value
Field Training Officer 5
IPMBA Officer 5
IPMBA Instructor 7
EVOT Instructor 7
Defensive Tactics Instructor 7
Firearms Instructor 7
General Instructor 7
ECC Certified Dispatcher / Officer 5
Crime Prevention Specialist 10
Dignitary / VIP Protection 3
Victim/Witness Coordinator 10
Victim / Witness Officer 5
Speed Measurement Operator 5
Speed Measurement Instructor 7
Breath Operator 3
ASP Instructor 5
Paramedic 10
Grace Harris (GEHLI) 10
CRASH Accident Investigation Officer 5
Associate’s Degree 10
Bachelor’s Degree 15
Master’s Degree 20
Doctorate 25
Military 4+ Years 10
Grant Manager 5
CPR Instructor 5
OC Spray Instructor 5
CIT Officer 5
CIT Instructor 7
ALERRT Instructor 7
VCIN Full Access Certification 6
VCIN Limited Access Certification 4
Honor Guard 3
Spot Award 1
CMT officer 5
Rifle Trained 3
RAD Instructor 7
3 Gold Stars (in current level) 1
Rookie of the Year 10
Biannual Employee Award 5
Issued medals/awards 3
Formal Letter of Commendation 3
Tenure 5/ each 5 years
Other Training  1 point for every 8 hours


Related Documentation

  1. VCUPD-63A Career Development Program Community Outreach Project (COP) Pre-Approval Form
  2. VCUPD-63B Career Development Program Advancement Request Form


Revision History

This policy supersedes the following archived policies:

7/30/2013 - 4-3 Career Development for Sworn Personnel

7/16/2018 - 4-3 Career Development for Sworn Personnel