Career Development Opportunities

The Department has a variety of opportunities for officers to take on ancillary assignments, move up in the ranks and work in specialty units.

Ancillary and Specialty Unit Assignments

After 2-3 years on solo patrol, officers become eligible for ancillary assignments in the Department and have the opportunity to participate in the selection processes for specialty unit assignments.

  • Specialty Units
    • Community Outreach Unit
    • K9 Unit
    • Special Operations Section (Motors)
    • Tactical Unit
  • Ancillary Assignments
    • Tactical Operations Section (SWAT, Tactical Operations Section, Civil Disturbance Unit, Crisis Negotiation Unit, K9 Unit)
    • Adjunct Training Instructors
    • Field Training Officer
    • Honor Guard
    • Unmanned Aircraft Systems 

Promotional Opportunities

Promotion to the Rank of Corporal

Officers become eligible for promotion to the rank of corporal when they have three years of law enforcement experience, two of which must be with Arlington County Police Department. The promotional process involves a written exam and an assessment center. 

At the rank of Corporal, staff are eligible for selection processes for the following additional positions:

  • Detective within the Criminal Investigations Division 
    • Criminal Investigations Section (Property Crimes, Homicide/Robbery Unit, Financial Crimes, Special Victims Unit, Identification Unit, Crime Scene Unit, Digital Forensics Unit)
    • Organized Crime Section (Narcotics Unit, Special Investigations Unit, Gang Unit)
    • Homeland Security Section (Intelligence Unit)
  • Community Engagement Division
    • Youth Outreach Officer
    • Community Outreach Officer
    • Business Outreach Officer
  • Human Resources Management Section
    • Training and Career Development Unit
    • Recruitment and Retention – Background Investigator
    • Tactical Training Unit

Officers become eligible for the promotional process for the rank of Sergeant, when they have permanent status as a police officer with Arlington county and a total of at least four years experience as a sworn police officer, of which up to one year may be with another municipal or state government. Applicants for the rank of Sergeant must also have completed sixty semester hours or ninety quarter hours of college work at an accredited college or university.

Career Development Programs

Mentoring Programs

The Department has designed two internal mentoring programs for staff to guide them at different points in their career. The offering of a formal mentoring program promotes loyalty and inclusiveness among employees across the agency and presents an opportunity for staff to shape the culture of the organization.

  • The Mentor Program for New Recruits pairs new hires with a veteran, non-supervisory officer who has been trained in the skills of mentoring. The mentor helps the new officer to successfully transition to their new work environment and serves as a resource to assist them with immediate needs and concerns, guide them through the organization, and provides a model for the officer to follow, while encouraging personal growth. 
  • The Legacy Mentor Program pairs police officers, corporals and sergeants with a lieutenant or captain during the program, which includes both classroom and one-on-one mentoring sessions.

Arlington County Career Development Cohort Programs

Through the County’s Human Resources Department, employees can participate in career development cohort programs throughout their career as part of the Arlington Institute. These programs are comprised of employees from across the County’s many departments, providing an opportunity to work collaboratively and learn about the County from a broader perspective, while improving your professional skills. Cohort programs range from developing one’s professional skills, to cohorts that prepare you to be a supervisor, and subsequently succeed as a supervisor.

Support for Continuing Education

Tuition Assistance from Arlington County

Arlington County Government offers tuition assistance to its employees (up to $2,200 in FY2023) to offset tuition expenses of an employee attending an accredited university for classes that are related to your current position or future career development. Employees can also utilize education leave in order to pursue continuing education opportunities through accredited institutions outside of work.

Discounts on Advance Degree Programs for Sworn Staff 

Through accredited institutions of higher learning, staff can pursue advanced degrees and coursework at discounted rates.

External Development Programs

The County participates in several local development opportunities through George Mason University, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and the Leadership Center for Excellence, offering employees many options to broaden their skill set, network and learn from peers in other jurisdictions and fields of work.

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