About Us

Welcome to the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Training Academy web site. I hope you will find this site useful and informative.

Our Academy has been preparing individuals for careers in law enforcement, corrections, civil process, and court security since 1965. In our more than 50-year proud history of providing excellence in law enforcement training, thousands of our graduates have gone on to successful law enforcement careers and have distinguished themselves by performing at the highest levels of our profession.

Read More


We, at the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Training Academy, endeavor to be recognized as the finest law enforcement training academy anywhere. Our employees and prospective applicants will know us as "the employer of choice". We will understand our students' training needs and surpass their expectations. Everything we do will be done with the highest degree of integrity, competence, quality, and professionalism. 
Fully committed to our students, our member agencies, and our communities, we will fulfill this vision by providing the highest quality of law enforcement training to all law enforcement personnel with the goal of exceeding the public's trust and expectations through high levels of competence and professionalism in all ranks. 
We recognize that our values influence the way our police officers and deputy sheriffs embody integrity and professionalism. We are committed to the values of Character, Accountability, Cooperation and Excellence.
  • We are trustworthy and honest in all of our actions.
  • We strive to be consistent in thought and action.
  • We are disciplined and conscientious.
  • We are positive role models to all of the students.
  • We value and honor the public trust.
  • We promote open communication among our staff, our students, and the agencies we represent.
  • We are responsive to the concerns of our participating agencies and their communities.
  • We effectively and efficiently manage our resources.
  • We strive to work as a team.
  • We share a responsibility to serve the residents of Northern Virginia and the customers, visitors, and employees served by our member agencies.
  • We seek to cultivate lasting professional relationships with our law enforcement colleagues.
  • We provide excellent staffing and facilities.
  • We meet or exceed nationally recognized law enforcement standards.
  • We believe that prudent judgment is essential to competence.
  • We understand that physical fitness is important to the image and performance of law enforcement professionals.
  • We pursue the latest in quality resources and training for our staff.
  • We promote new initiatives and pursue new approaches to training.
  • We are self-motivated and believe in the value and quality of our products.
  • We are dedicated to the improvement of the law enforcement profession.

These values are the cornerstone upon which the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Training Academy's policies are formulated, our goals are established, and our training is delivered. These values guide us in completing our mission as we seek to fulfill our vision.

The Northern Virginia Police Academy was established in 1965 to provide the highest level of professional police training through the development, operation, and presentation of a standardized recruit-training program. The original Academy building, consisting of one classroom and an office next to the Fairfax County outdoor pistol range, was located on Popes Head Road in Fairfax County. This location hosted the first eight academy sessions.

In 1968, the Academy moved to another Popes Head Road location, which also housed the Virginia National Guard. The Academy increased to two classrooms and six small staff offices. When weather conditions precluded outdoor activity, chairs and tables were removed and physical training and defensive tactics were conducted in these same two classrooms.

Every person employed as a permanent full-time Law Enforcement Officer, Correctional Officer, Jailor/Custodial Officer, Civil Process or Court Security Officer must meet minimum compulsory training standards. The Department of Criminal Justice Services establishes these standards. Attending and graduating from an approved school can satisfy the minimum training requirements. In July 1971, the Department of Criminal Justice Services certified the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Training Academy as an approved Training School.

Academic recognition of the Academy's training activities originated with the American University, which granted nine course hours for successful completion of the Academy. In 1976, the Academy became affiliated with the Northern Virginia Community College, headquartered in Annandale. With this affiliation, each police officer and deputy sheriff who successfully graduates from the Academy's Basic Law Enforcement and Deputy Sheriff School now receives up to 28 college-level credits. In many cases, these credits provide the impetus for students to enter and complete collegiate programs.

The Police Academy was renamed the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Academy in 1977 by the Board of Directors. This name change reflects the broad-based training currently being provided to all law enforcement officers in Northern Virginia.

May 1978 saw the Academy on the move again. A renovated elementary school building on Main Street in Fairfax City became the new home of the Academy. Remaining there until 1984, the Academy continued its distinguished record of providing top-quality law enforcement training even as societal and law enforcement philosophy became more sophisticated and complex.

In 1982 the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Academy became one of seven state-certified regional academies entitled to receive funding from the Commonwealth of Virginia. This funding augments the funds provided by the agencies supporting the Academy. Based on its sworn population in relation to the total sworn population of all participating agencies, each agency accordingly provides a proportionate share of the Academy's budget.

In August 1984, a converted elementary school in Arlington became the next home of the Academy. While there, as the image of a more enlightened police professional began to emerge, the Academy staff and training curriculum were adjusted. Academy staff increased, as did training hours. Curriculum subject areas changed to better prepare students for their careers in the law enforcement profession.

Planning began in June 1992 to locate and fund a permanent location for the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Academy. The process was completed in August 1993 when the Academy moved into a permanent facility located in Ashburn. This beautiful modern training facility truly reflects the commitment of the participating agencies and the residents whom these agencies serve.

In March 1995, the Academy achieved the distinction of being the first criminal justice training institution in the nation to be certified by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) and it has successfully been re-certified in 1998 and 2001. This constituted a significant milestone in the Academy's history because it validated, on a national level, the quality of the Academy's processes and procedures.

The Academy was re-chartered by the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1997 and became a legal entity under the title of the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Training Academy. In the summer of 1998, the Academy became the first certified Academy in the Commonwealth of Virginia to implement the new state-mandated training standards for entry-level law enforcement officers. These standards increased both the evaluated training criteria, from 434 to 1357, and the length of the basic course, from 15 to 20 weeks.

In 1999, the Academy implemented a Combined Basic Deputy Sheriff School with the new mandated Law Enforcement program. The graduating Deputy Sheriffs now receive certifications as a Jailor, Court Security/Civil Process Officer, and a Law Enforcement Officer.

In 2004, an assessment by the Excelsior College resulted in the ability of Academy Basic School graduates to receive up to 35 college credit hours.

On March 20, 2004, the Academy became the third academy in the nation to be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. The accreditation process involved a far more intensive review of the Academy's policies, processes, and procedures than the previous certification process. In each of the successive 3-year accreditation cycles since then (2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016), the Academy was reaccredited and each time was awarded additional recognition for its successful achievements. In 2007 and 2010, the Academy was named a CALEA Flagship Agency. The Flagship Agency program was created to acknowledge the achievement and expertise of some of the most successful CALEA Accredited public safety agencies and to provide "flagship examples" to assist other agencies. In 2011, CALEA announced the establishment of a new award, Accreditation with Excellence, to replace the Flagship designation. In 2013 and again in 2016, the Academy received the Accreditation with Excellence Award which recognizes agencies that successfully employ accreditation to set the benchmark for public safety professionalism. National accreditation, and the additional designation as a Flagship Agency and as a recipient of the Accreditation with Excellence Award, remains a major source of pride for our Academy as it validates the high quality of our programs, processes, and procedures. 

Without question, the staff of the Training Academy is the cornerstone in the foundation of the total training program that is offered to the law enforcement officers in Northern Virginia and the Washington, D.C. area. Only the most qualified personnel are selected for positions at the Academy. The makeup of the Academy staff is comprised of both permanent, non-sworn, law enforcement trainers and support staff employed by the Academy and temporarily assigned, sworn officers/deputies from its member agencies who are detailed to the Academy for specific lengths of assignment. The Academy is currently comprised of 17 permanent, non-sworn employees and 18 sworn employees and one non-sworn employee from its member agencies. 
The Academy continually strives to provide state-of-the-art training to its member jurisdictions' personnel. Every effort is made to ensure the training is legally viable and content valid in terms of currently accepted practices and procedures of the judicial system and of the law enforcement community.

The Academy is the largest regional law enforcement training facility in Virginia. Every person employed as a full-time law enforcement officer must meet compulsory minimum training standards. Individuals must first be hired by a supporting agency as a police officer or deputy sheriff before coming to the Academy for training. Academy training must be obtained from a state certified law enforcement training facility and must be completed within 12 months of the date of appointment.

The Basic Training program is one of the most critical elements of any police academy. This is where we assist in the development of our future police officers and deputy sheriffs and for that reason, we strive to provide the very best training and resources possible. We consider it to be our responsibility to develop ethical, professional, and knowledgeable officers to serve the residents of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Washington, DC area.  The basic training curriculum (776 hours for police officers and 936 hours for deputy sheriffs) is designed to orient new officers and deputies to the diverse day-to-day challenges experienced by law enforcement personnel. Many of the essential building blocks of a successful law enforcement career begin with basic law enforcement training.

The largest component of our training occurs in our In-Service Training Programs.  After meeting Basic Training standards, every state certified law enforcement officer must complete compulsory In-Service training standards. State mandated In-Service training hours are 40 hours biennially: four (4) hours of legal, two (2) hours of cultural diversity, and thirty-four (34) hours of career development/elective subjects. Firearms training, not to exceed eight (8) hours in any two-year period, is also mandated.  Our Academy constantly strives to be responsive to the needs of the agencies we support by providing the best and most current training possible, taught by the most qualified professionals, to our law enforcement officers, and to ensure that all state-mandated training requirements are satisfied.

The Academy also conducts ongoing curriculum research and development, provides Supervisory and Command Staff training, provides training and policy recommendations in the area of Use of Force and provides ongoing training on the topics of Wellness and Physical Fitness.  The Academy also coordinates the Field Training Program with its member agencies.

The Academy utilizes several training facilities in the Northern Virginia Area:

The main campus is located in a 71,500-square-foot, two-story building NVCJTA purchased in 1993. The Academy currently occupies 52,000 square feet. The first floor is dedicated to classrooms and training areas, the second floor houses offices and other administrative functions. The Loudoun County Sheriff's Office maintains a Satellite Station in the remaining areas of the facility. The Academy is located in the heart of a fast growing educational and training center that currently includes the Virginia Campus of George Washington University and the National Transportation Safety Training Academy.

Recruit firearms training occurs at the Charles E. Hill Police Firing Range, located in the city of Alexandria. This facility is a baffled outdoor firing range with a classroom that accommodates up to 20 students. It consists of a 25-yard, automated 10-point turning-target-system range and, in 1990, was named the Charles E. Hill Range in honor of the City of Alexandria Officer who lost his life in the line of duty.

The Academy conducts driver’s training at its Emergency Vehicle Operations Center (EVOC) located on an Academy-owned 90-acre site adjacent to the Prince William County Criminal Justice Academy in Nokesville.  The EVOC facility, which opened in December 2010, is jointly owned and operated by the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Training Academy and the Prince William County Criminal Justice Academy.

The EVOC consists of a 14,000 square-foot administration building which contains four classrooms, offices, and two state-of-the-art driving simulators, and driver’s skill training areas consisting of a 1.1 mile emergency response course, an urban street environment, a precision driving skills pad, and a skid track and skid pan.  This facility will provide driver’s training to more than 3,300 police officers and deputy sheriffs from 23 different law enforcement agencies in the Northern Virginia region.  With its many enhancements and its state-of-the-art equipment, the EVOC will allow our highly trained instructors to provide the best possible driver’s training to our law enforcement personnel now and in the future.

The Academy is committed to improving our environment by increasing energy efficiency, reducing waste, and promoting the recycling of materials.  We are recognized as an Energy Star Partner with the United States Environmental Protection Agency.  By voluntarily partnering with Energy Star and taking the Energy Star Challenge, the Academy strives to improve energy efficiency by 10%.  Further, we will measure and track the energy performance of our facility where possible by using tools such as those offered through Energy Star; develop and implement a plan consistent with the Energy Star Management Guidelines to achieve energy savings; and help spread the word about the importance of energy efficiency to our staff and community.

certified-150x150 Energy Star H - Hi-Res

Technology has significantly enhanced training over the past several years and will continue to assist in providing the very best and the most realistic training possible.  We currently utilize driver simulators, firearms training simulators, e-learning and other web-based training programs to augment our courses in order to provide the most effective, up-to-date, and realistic training possible.

The Academy staff will continue to look for new and innovative ways to use technology to improve our training programs and to assist in reducing costs to our agencies.

This region of the country is one of the fastest growing areas and with it comes a multitude of challenges to include crime issues, fear of crime, and concerns related to the potential for terrorism. Additionally, traffic congestion, diversity and language issues, and numerous other public-safety issues present challenges for law enforcement officers. Because of our proximity to the nation's capital, we face additional and unique issues, as have been demonstrated by such notable incidents as September 11, 2001, the October 2002 Sniper shootings, the anthrax incidents, and the large number of demonstrations that occur frequently in our region. With these many and varied responsibilities, we remain committed to ensuring that we continuously research, design, and implement the very best possible training programs in order to prepare our law enforcement officers to successfully meet these challenges.