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Conservation Police Officer (CPO) Recruiting Information

If you have a passion for the outdoors and want to serve your community, a career as a Conservation Police Officer may be right for you. If you’re up for the challenge, the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources is now accepting applications for multiple duty assignments throughout Virginia.

Have questions? See Frequently-Asked Questions or contact the Training and Recruiting Section at (804) 367-3443 or recruiter@dwr.virginia.gov.

Frequently-Asked Questions

What are the preferred qualifications for the position?

Associate Degree or higher in Conservation, Criminal Justice, Criminology, Forestry, Sociology, Wildlife Resources, or other job related field, 4 or more years of relevant work or volunteer experience may be substituted for education; Current Virginia DCJS Law Enforcement certification; Interest in hunting, fishing, boating and other outdoor activities; Career Readiness Certificate (CRC); Bi-lingual; Community involvement.

Is a candidate with a background of military service given preference during the application/screening/hiring process?

Yes. DWR is a Virginians Values Veterans (V3) employer and applicants with military service are given preference in the hiring process.

What is the starting pay?

The current salary for conservation police officers is $42,000. New officers receive their full salary while attending basic training. Current Virginia DCJS Certified Law Enforcement Officers will receive a $2,000 signing bonus with a 12 month tenure agreement.

Are applicants who are law enforcement officers from out of state or federal service required to attend the full academy?

Yes. All new hire conservation police officers are required to attend the department’s 26 week Basic Training Program in Henrico, Virginia. Those who are current Virginia law enforcement officers with DCJS Law Enforcement Certification will attend the 14 week Modified Training Program.

What is the basic training like?

The Virginia Conservation Police Law Enforcement Basic Training Academy is approximately 26 weeks in length. During this time, recruit officers are assigned to our Headquarters in Henrico, VA. Our independent training academy provides for a longer period of time to instill the agency culture, philosophy, and expectations in newly hired recruit officers. Our basic training academy sessions provide an opportunity to develop positive relationships and esprit de corps with classmates. These relationships carry on into their careers with the agency.

The Department provides 7 day a week lodging at no cost to the recruit officer during their training period and a state vehicle for official use. This lodging is conveniently located to dining, shopping, and entertainment options. Academy courses are primarily delivered in the training room at DWR headquarters, located in Henrico, Virginia. Recruit officers can plan to receive training during regular business hours, Monday through Friday. There are a few weeks when training is received out of the area, as well as occasional weekends and nights. These off-site training sessions are conducted when field or specialized conditions are required (driver training, firearms, control tactics, tactical tracking, boat school, etc.).

Most training days begin with an hour of physical training prior to arriving at the training room. These sessions consist of running, calisthenics, swimming, and various other workout regimens. At the beginning of the training day, the recruit officer class assembles into formation and their sergeant or lieutenant will conduct an inspection and share information regarding the day’s plan. The recruit officer class will become proficient in drill and ceremony. The class will be divided into squads, with squad leader assignments rotating weekly, providing an opportunity to develop and exercise leadership skills.

Respect, discipline, and accountability will be strictly enforced during the academy. Recruit officers will be tested weekly on topics being taught during the academy. Failure to meet academic, discipline, or fitness requirements, will result in dismissal from employment with the Department.

Will I know prior to applying what counties are open?

Yes. A list of anticipated duty stations will be available to prospective applicants when the notification of vacancy is announced. This list of prospective duty stations will be continuously updated during the hiring process, and applicants will have the opportunity to state which duty stations they wish to be considered for. The current vacancies are:

  • Amelia
  • Bland
  • Botetourt
  • Brunswick
  • Buchanan
  • Buckingham
  • City of Chesapeake
  • City of Hampton
  • City of Newport News
  • City of Norfolk
  • City of Richmond
  • Craig
  • Cumberland
  • Dickenson
  • Dinwiddie
  • Greensville
  • Henrico
  • King & Queen
  • King George
  • Lancaster
  • Louisa
  • Mecklenburg
  • Middlesex
  • Nottoway
  • Prince George
  • Rockbridge
  • Russell
  • Smyth
  • Spotsylvania
  • Stafford
  • Wythe
  • York
  • Others as needed

When will I know my county of assignment, if selected?

Applicants will be given their county of assignment in the conditional offer letter. The conditional offer is made prior to the medical screening. Applicants are encouraged to keep in mind that the role of a CPO can vary considerably depending on duty station and time of year.

What is the residency requirement?

All officers of the Division are required to adhere to the residency policy. This policy states, in part, that officers are required to establish their residence in the City/County of assignment, or within 15 drive miles from the city/county line.

How many positions are we filling in this round of hiring?

We anticipate filling 24 vacancies from this announcement. This number may change based on staffing levels and budget considerations.

How long will the application period be open?

The application period will be open for approximately 30 days. The exact open and close dates can be found in the Notification of Vacancy. Please visit jobs.virginia.gov to apply.

What are the steps in the hiring process?

Application, initial screening, written testing, panel interview, background investigation, polygraph, medical screening, psychological screening, physical agility.

What is the work schedule like?

The schedule of a CPO is variable and changes to address seasonal patrol needs. Officers can expect to have off 2 weekends a month and are given flexibility in their daily schedules. This flexibility includes varying start/stop times and working split shifts. District supervisors are responsible for determining the monthly district schedule and work closely with their officers to incorporate day off preferences and coverage needs.

Who can I speak with to find out more about a career as a conservation police officer?

Interested candidates are encouraged to contact the Training and Recruiting Section by calling (804) 367-3443 or by email at recruiter@dwr.virginia.gov.