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How to become a Department of Veterans Affairs police officer

Department of Veterans Affairs police officers are considered federal employees that protect the nation's veteran health care facilities


By Rachel Engel, PoliceOne Contributor

The men and women who patrol and protect the nation’s Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals and clinics are employed directly by the VA. As federal employees, they police the more than 1,700 facilities utilized by the nation’s military veterans.

Since they are considered federal employees, the qualifications needed to be employed as a VA hospital police officer varies slightly from city and municipal requirements.

Doggone good: VA police dog, handler help ensure Veteran safety at hospitals. (Photo/VA)
Doggone good: VA police dog, handler help ensure Veteran safety at hospitals. (Photo/VA)

What are the duties of a VA police officer?

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Police are solely responsible for the protection and monitoring of VA hospitals, outpatient clinics (OPC) and community-based outpatient clinics (CBOC). They are required to:

  • Deter and prevent crime
  • Maintain order
  • Investigate crimes
  • They often work in conjunction with the VA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for certain cases.

Are VA police officers armed and can they make arrests?

Police officers employed by the VA are considered to be federal law enforcement officers who are armed and have the authority to enforce all federal laws and VA rules. Police officers can also make arrests on VA-controlled property.

VA police officers are qualified to carry and use the Beretta 92D 9mm sidearm, but are transitioning to the SIG Sauer P229 DAK Version and the SIG Sauer P239 DAK Version.

What qualifications do I need to become a VA hospital police officer?

  • One year of experience in law enforcement with arrest authority or a Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice
  • Pass a physical abilities test
  • Pass a physical assessment
  • Undergo a Minnesota Multiphasic Personal Inventory psychological evaluation
  • Pass a background check

How are VA police officers trained?

Federal Law Enforcement Training Center sign. (Photo/Wikimedia Commons)

Once selected for employment as a Department of Veteran Affairs police officer, recruits go through an eight-week training course at the VA Law Enforcement Center (LETC) at Fort Logan H. Roots in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Recruits are also certified in CPR, and the use of weapons and deterrents, including Pepper spray, the expandable police baton and sidearm.

What is the rank structure for Veterans Affairs police officers?

  • Officer
  • Corporal
  • Sergeant
  • Detective
  • Detective Sergeant
  • Criminal Investigator
  • Lieutenant
  • Captain
  • Major
  • Deputy Chief
  • Chief of Police
  • VISN Chief
  • Director, Police Service

How do I find openings for VA police officers in my area?

Any openings will be listed by the individual VA facilities seeking applicants on USAJobs.gov.

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