top of page

"On my honor, I will never betray my badge, my integrity, my character,
or the public trust. 

I will always have the courage to hold myself and others accountable for our actions. I will always uphold the Constitution, the community, and the agency I serve, so help me God."


The Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Training Academy provides basic training for police officers and deputy sheriffs in compliance with the standards required by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS).  Prospective students are not eligible to attend unless they are already employed by one of our affiliated agencies.

Combined Basic Deputy
Sheriff School

Students in the Combined Basic Deputy Sheriff School must pass all of the criteria listed above for the Basic Law Enforcement School as well as attaining a passing score (70%) in an additional module on topics related to jail operations, court security and civil process.

Basic Law Enforcement School

The Basic Law Enforcement School is divided into four modules. They include Criminal Investigation, Legal, Patrol, and Skills. Recruits must meet three separate proficiency standards in order to successfully complete the School. First, the recruit must attain a minimum cumulative grade average of seventy percent (70%) in each of the four modules. Second, the recruit must successfully pass all state-mandated objectives/criteria. Third, the recruit must successfully complete all performance-based tests. The final grades for the Criminal Investigation, Legal, Patrol, and Skills modules are based on written examinations. The final grades for all performance-based tests are pass/fail. Major components of performance-based training include First-aid, CPR, control tactics, firearms training, and driver training.


State mandated objectives are tested in one of two ways, either by written examination questions or practical performance-based demonstrations of recruit knowledge.

Written examinations are administered at regular intervals during the session, along with other written examinations covering specific topics, such as CPR, First Aid, etc. Examination questions are constructed in multiple choice or true/false format. Much of the material tested in written format is also tested in performance-based testing. The recruit must not only have concept knowledge but must be able to demonstrate an ability to put that knowledge into practice.

Written examination objectives are included in the numerical grade average of the recruit. If a recruit incorrectly answers a mandated written objective question, the recruit is re-tested and given up to three additional attempts to correctly answer the question. However, the recruit receives no credit for the correct answer and it does not change the recruit's numerical grade average.


Performance-based objectives are tested by placing the recruit in a simulated, role-play situation based on a written scenario, in which the recruit must perform a desired behavior. Performance-based practicals are graded on a pass/fail basis. If a recruit fails to perform the desired behavior, the recruit is given up to three additional attempts to pass. The first two attempts are conducted at the time of the original exercise. If the recruit does not pass the objective during the original exercise, the recruit is counseled and given remedial training. Up to two final attempts are scheduled for a later time in the academic portion of the Academy.

Performance-based objectives for Firearms Training and Driver Training are tested in the classroom and at the firearms and driver training ranges, and include both written examination questions and practical performance based testing. Recruits are required to score a minimum of 70% in each component. If a recruit fails to meet minimum standards after two attempts, the recruit will be scheduled for re-training at a later time. The recruit will receive remedial training and will be given up to two additional attempts to meet minimum standards.

The Basic Training Manager determines remedial training and/or re-testing schedules. Performance based objectives are documented by checklists of the behaviors performed.


The Director's Award for Academic Excellence is awarded by the Academy Director in recognition of outstanding academic achievement. At the completion of basic training, one graduate from the Combined Basic Deputy Sheriff School and one graduate from the Basic Law Enforcement School will receive this award based on the highest overall academic score.

The Thomas L. Shaw Award is in honor of its namesake, and recognizes his 36 years of service to the Northern Virginia region in the Criminal Justice arena.  More than one half of Mr. Shaw’s service was to the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Training Academy.  During those years, he was an instructor, supervisor, and the Executive Director of the Academy from 1982 to 2000.  Mr. Shaw's commitment to the preparation of law enforcement professionals was integral to the development and implementation of rigorous training standards in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

At his retirement, Mr. Shaw was named the Executive Director Emeritus.  His entire career was typified by three characteristics - Professionalism, Dedication and Leadership.  The Academy’s Basic Training staff selects the individual student they feel best exhibits the potential to meet those standards set by Mr. Shaw.

The Firearms Award is presented at graduation to that recruit who shoots the highest cumulative score of the four tested courses of fire.  The mandated courses include the 60-round Modified Double Action (MDA), the 50-round Tactical Qualification (TQC) reduced light, the 10-round Shotgun and the 10-round Shotgun-reduced Light.

The EVOC Award is presented at graduation to that recruit who achieves the highest cumulative score on the required Emergency Vehicle Operations tests, which include the Precision Driving Course and the Pursuit.

The Physical Fitness Award is presented at graduation to the male and female recruit who achieve the highest physical fitness scores based on the Cooper Institute testing battery, which includes the 1.5-mile run, the 300-meter sprint, maximum push-ups, vertical jump, sit & reach, and percent bodyweight bench press.  Elements also factored into the final fitness score include the 500-meter row, plank and obstacle course.


Each graduate receives an Academy graduation diploma recognizing attendance and successful completion of either the Basic Law Enforcement or Combined Basic Deputy Sheriff School. In addition, each graduate receives State of Virginia certification recognizing completion of state mandated training for law enforcement officers and deputy sheriffs.


The Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Training Academy is affiliated with several colleges and universities that offer college credits to graduates of Academy training.  The number of credits that can be awarded vary according to the awarding institution.

bottom of page