VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – The Virginia Beach Police Department (VBPD) and Virginia Wesleyan University (VWU) announced a new academic partnership.

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According to a joint statement on Friday from VBPD Chief Neudigate and VWU President Miller, VBPD officers will be given up to 42 credit hours at a discounted rate that they can use at VWU to complete their bachelors degree.

This partnership has two different options that officers can choose from to enroll in classes. The first is a individual option where officers can pursue their degree at their own pace. The second is a cohort option where 15-20 officers will complete the program together by taking classes online, in-person or hybrid.

For the cohort option, officers can pursue a degree in one of the following areas:

  • Sociology
  • Psychology
  • Criminal justice

“We are so grateful to VWU and Dr. Miller for this opportunity. The VBPD has historically been very proud of its academic requirements for promotion; however, not everyone has had the same opportunity for advanced education,” Chief Neudigate said. ” This partnership provides a pathway to ensure we remain one of the most highly educated, large police department in this nation while removing obstacles to advancement within the PD.”

Both options will also include an internship component that will be based on the officer’s on-the-job experience.