The United States Department of Veterans Affairs Police is the uniformed law enforcement and police service of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, responsible for the protection of the VA Medical Centers and other facilities operated by United States Department of Veterans Affairs and its subsidiary components of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) as well as the National Cemetery Administration (NCA) and the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) respectively. The VA Police have several divisions and operate separately but alongside the VA Law Enforcement Training Center (VA LETC) under the umbrella of the Office of Security and Law Enforcement. The primary role of VA Police is to serve as a protective uniformed police force in order to deter and prevent crime, maintain order, and investigate crimes (ranging from summary to felony offenses) which may have occurred within the jurisdiction of the Department or its federal assets. The role of investigating felony offenses is referred and investigated in conjunction with agents from the Office of the Inspector General (VA OIG).
The Office of Security and Law Enforcement (OS&LE) is the parent agency of the VA Police within the Law Enforcement Oversight & Criminal Investigation Division (LEO/CID) which provides national oversight to individual VA Police Services at each location throughout the United States. They also facilitate support, guidance, funds and regulation of the Police Service and their corresponding independent facilities. Upper level management and specialty positions other than Police Officer include (in no particular order); Detective, Special Agent, Inspector, and Criminal Investigator. Other semi standardized rank structures are developed within each VA Police Service at the local level. These serve to reflect job title, function, and/or role and range from Sergeant to Chief. The VA Police also maintain groups of specialty service elements such as K-9, Bicycle, and Motorcycle patrols.
The VA Police are an armed, federal law enforcement and protective service entity that operates in and around the various Veterans Affairs Medical Centers, National Cemeteries and other VA facilities located throughout the whole of United States to include Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands. Among others, the VA Police are a specialized federal law enforcement agency, whose officers have full police powers derived from statutory authority to enforce all federal laws, VA rules and regulations, and to make arrests on VA controlled property whether owned or leased.
VA Police encounters and methods of law enforcement are often unique due to the fact that the majority of their work is conducted in and around a clinical or medical setting. Enhanced methodology and incident solutions (including advanced interpersonal communication, conflict resolution, and problem solving skills) are required by their officers to be successful; as in addition to the full range of incidents and calls for service one might normally associate with police work, the VA Police also often encounter trained military veterans suffering from medical and psychological traumas. Beyond normal law enforcement contact with the general public, VA Police officers also work in an environment which includes an extremely high percentage of individuals (to include patients and even other VA employees) who are military trained veterans (with an increasingly large number of individuals who are returning combat veterans). VA Police officers must strive to enforce the law while working with other VA staff to maintain an equitable balance; ensuring that the medical needs of the veterans/patients are being met while at the same time continuing to operate as a full federal law enforcement agency.