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Meet the NOVA Police Department

28 November 2011 2 Comments

NOVA Alexandria police officer, Lt. John Weinstein, serves food to students Jiyeong Kim and Yejin Hong during a campus barbeque in September. Photo by: KJ Mushung

By Lt. John Weinstein
Commander, District 3

 One of the National Capital Region’s best-kept law enforcement secrets is the high level of capability and professionalism in the NOVA College Police Department. With only 49 sworn officers we may not be large, but we are good. We train extensively, have nationally-recognized subject matter experts in key public service areas, enjoy strong relationships with surrounding jurisdictions and play an active role in training police officers from surrounding jurisdictions.

You might be surprised to know the high level of training a recruit goes through to become a certified Virginia police officer. First, there is the attendance at the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Academy. During a recruit’s 850 hours at the academy, a number which equates to more than a year in a college program, he or she will study Virginia’s criminal code, become proficient with firearms and emergency vehicle operations, learn defensive tactics, criminal investigation, crime scene management and how to deal with everything from hazardous materials to domestic and sexual abuse, terrorism and various special needs individuals. Additionally, all NOVA officers are certified to provide first aid and to use the Automatic External Defibrillator.

Upon graduating the academy, the recruit still undergoes a field training program where he or she is accompanied for two to four months by an experienced and specially trained officer who evaluates the new officer’s job performance. Only when the field evaluator assesses a recruit to be proficient can he or she become a fully certified Virginia law enforcement officer with all the rights and obligations of other police officers in the Commonwealth. Those rights allow us to do things like make arrests and conduct criminal investigations.

Beyond our extensive entry-level training, NOVA police employs highly trained officers with diverse experience. In addition to our current chief, Daniel Dusseau, who has more than 22 years of experience, we have two former chiefs of police, plus officers who have served at various ranks in large and small departments. We have a New York City officer with 30 years of experience, officers with military experience, former corrections officers and dispatchers. Their skill and experience are consistently demonstrated when the department conducts its annual active shooter training and at other times when we train jointly with agencies such as Fairfax County and Alexandria City police departments.

Our officers are widely recognized as subject-matter experts in numerous fields. We have an officer who has a Ph.D., and is nationally recognized as an expert in weapons of mass destruction and international terrorism. We have state-certified firearms, driving and defensive tactics instructors, a bicycle patrol and gang specialists. We speak a total of more than 10 languages.

Our officers are regularly invited to teach at several area police academies which train officers from more than 30 northern Virginia jurisdictions.     

The college can be proud of its police department. Our officers offer a variety of services, such as escorts to vehicles, self-defense training for women and the full range of normal police services. We take our requirement to protect and serve seriously.

If you would like to know more about us or are interested in working with us, give us a call at our college-wide dispatch number: 703-764-5000.

By: Contributing Author

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