All recruits undergo their basic police training at the Hampton Roads Criminal Justice Training Academy (HRCJTA) which is located in Newport News, Virginia. This intensive 16-week Basic Academy challenges each recruit mentally, physically, academically, and provides them, with the basic skills required to be certified as a police officer. Courses of instruction include but are not limited to:

  • Ethics
  • Physical Fitness
  • Introduction to the Criminal Justice System
  • Case Law
  • Virginia Criminal Code
  • Virginia Motor Vehicle Code
  • Firearms and Marksmanship
  • Defensive Tactics
  • Emergency Vehicle Operations
  • Officer Survival
  • Patrol Techniques
  • Communications
  • Basic Investigations
  • Evidence Collection
  • Crime Scene Preservation
  • First Aid/ CPR

The basic academy adheres to a paramilitary structure where recruits are expected to observe proper courtesies, uniform standards and overall professionalism at all times. Classes are conducted Monday through Friday from 7:30 am until 4:30 pm, although certain modules may require recruits to report later in order to train at night. Recruits are not required to sleep at the academy, but dormitories are available for out-of-town recruits who have not yet secured suitable local housing.

Upon successful graduation from the academy, recruits are promoted to the rank of Police Officer.

New Police Officers then begin a 5-week postgraduate course conducted in Portsmouth by the Police Training Unit. Here, new officers learn the standards and procedures unique to the Portsmouth Police Department and build upon the basic skills which were learned at HRCJTA.

Postgraduate training is followed by a 12-week field training period where new officers are partnered with experienced Field Training Officers (FTOs) whom serve as a mentor as the new officer takes what was learned in the classroom and applies it in a real world practical setting.


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