The Department of Veterans Affairs strives to provide various services, such as medical care, insurance and civilian job training, to the soldiers who have served and are currently serving in the armed forces. Within the VA, the VA police serve and protect at VA hospitals and medical centers located throughout the country. Women like Elizabeth Domenzian-Finch, who in 2012 became the first female VA police officer in southern Nevada, lead the way for future female VA police officers to break into the field. You need to meet some particular qualifications to join the VA police force.
Taking the Training Course
Most of the VA police requirements fall under the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s police qualifications and standards. The first qualification hurdle for a potential VA police officer is attending and passing the basic police officers training course at the VA Law Enforcement Training Center in Arkansas. The training includes classroom hours, hands-on skills training and physical fitness exercises. During the training, officers also receive CPR certification, gun-safety courses and pepper spray training. Besides specialized training, VA police positions require no specific education.
Gaining the Experience
VA police officers fall under federal government grade six requirements, meaning you’ll need at least one year of professional experience in public law enforcement as a grade five or higher employee. Experience can also come from service as a military police officer, working in law enforcement in another government agency or time as a criminal investigator. Some veterans are exempt from the experience requirement but still must meet the other qualification requirements. Additionally, if you don't meet the experience requirement of one year in a police-related position, you can substitute six months of graduate-level education.
Being Physically Fit
Because being in the line of duty is physically taxing, you must receive a clean bill of health from a physician, as well as pass a physical fitness test, to become a VA police officer. During your basic training course, you’ll receive some physical fitness training, but you should be in decent shape to start. You should have good vision and hearing, not suffer from any debilitating mental illnesses and be emotionally stable, as shown by passing the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory psychological evaluation. You’ll have to pass a random drug test, too.
Meeting Other Requirements
To serve as a VA police officer, you must be a United States citizen and be able to read and write English. You should have a clean criminal background, as the federal government will conduct thorough background and credit checks before you can begin serving. You must have a valid driver’s license to be able to drive government vehicles. To fulfill the duties of the job, you'll need excellent written and oral communication and decision-making skills. You should also be able to work well under pressure and serve in a team setting.
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