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2020 New CPO Recruiting Information

1. Is experience in hunting, fishing, and boating given weight in the application/ screening/ hiring process?
Yes. An applicant’s experience in the areas of hunting, fishing, and boating is taken into account.

2. Is experience as a Hunter Education or Boating Education Instructor, CWF volunteer, and/or DWR non-law division employment given weight in the application/ screening/ hiring process?
Yes. An applicant’s experience in these areas is relevant work/ volunteer experience and is taken into account.

3. Is a candidate with a background as a law enforcement officer given preference during the application/ screening/ hiring process?
Yes. Preferred applicants have current Virginia DCJS Law Enforcement Certification.

4. Is a candidate with a background of military service given preference during the application/ screening/ hiring process?
Yes. Applicants with military service are given preference in the hiring process.

5. Is a candidate with a background as a correctional officer given preference during the application/ screening/ hiring process?
No. However, applicants from many backgrounds, including corrections, may have relevant work experience looked for during the screening process.

6. Is a candidate who has a college degree given preference during the application/ screening/ hiring process? If so, what field of study?
Yes. Preferred applicants possess an Associate Degree or higher. Many areas of study are relevant to natural resources law enforcement. A certain degree field is not specifically recruited for.

7. What is the starting pay?
The current starting salary for a conservation police officer is $41,814.  This amount may be different than the notification of vacancy announcement that is expected in 2020. New officers receive their full salary while attending basic training.

8. Are previously or current sworn officers from in-state, 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 basic training academy.

9. What is the basic training academy 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 headquarters. Recruit officers can plan to receive training during 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, boating, 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 military style 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.

10. 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.

11. When will I know my county of assignment is 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.

12. 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.

13. How many positions are we filling in this round of hiring?
The exact number of positions the agency will hire will be determined closer to the hiring date and will based on staffing level needs and budget considerations.

14. How long will the application period be open?
The length of time applications will be accepted will be included in the notification of vacancy.

15. Do we have specialty units such as K9, Covert, investigations?
Department policies outline the requirements to become a member of any of these specialty teams. These policies state, in part, that an officer has to have served with the department for a minimum of 2 years and be in good standing to compete for these positions.

16. What are the steps in the hiring process?
Application, initial screening, physical agility, written testing, panel interview, background investigation, polygraph, medical screening, psychological screening.

17. What is the work schedule like?
The schedule of a CPO is variable and changes to address seasonal patrol needs. Officers can expect to work 2, sometimes more, 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.

18. Who can I speak with to find out more about a career as a conservation police officer?
Interested candidates are encouraged to contact one of the Division’s recruiters by calling (804) 367-DWR or through email at