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     This Association shall be known as the VIRGINIA POLICE CANINE ASSOCIATION, Inc.

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  • To unite and assist all law enforcement agencies in the training and continued improvement of all Police work dogs.
  • To establish a working standard for all police work dogs, Handlers and trainers through an Accreditation program.
  • To provide educational material through publications, visual aids, and training seminars.
  • To improve the image of the working police canines to the general public through improved public service in the prevention and detection of crime.
  • To continually train and improve the services of the canine as an aid in the prevention and detection of crime.
  • To strive to educate the general public of the abilities of working police canines through demonstrations and public events.
  • To endeavor to establish the highest standard of training, and to certify the abilities of the canine in police work.
  • To coordinate peer reviews and the exchange of ideas for advanced training techniques utilizing police canines.
  • To endeavor to maintain high levels of knowledge of US and Virginia case law relating to police canines.
  • To assist law enforcement agencies in establishing and maintaining the highest standards for the canine sections of their respective departments.

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     The membership of the association shall consist of those persons who have signed the Certificate of Incorporation as Incorporators, together with all persons who are hereinafter received in or elected to membership as hereinafter provided.

     Full initial membership in this association shall be open to any active law enforcement officer, military police, federal, state, county, municipal, or correction officer who is a canine Handler, trainer, or canine administrator; or a person who was a law enforcement canine officer and is now employed full time as a canine trainer by a recognized law enforcement agency.
     Full membership shall also be open to any retired (vested or collecting a pension) law enforcement officer, military police, federal, state, county, municipal, or correction officer who was a canine Handler, trainer, or canine administrator at the time of retirement.
     Regular VPCA members who are current in their dues at the time they leave their canine unit and remain a law enforcement officer are still eligible to be a Regular member so long as they remain active in VPCA and current in their dues.
     All regular members will be ineligible to vote at the first Executive Committee election following their membership acceptance.
     If a law enforcement agency pays for the member's membership dues, the agency has the right to reassign that membership to another person anytime during that dues period. The change in membership by the law enforcement agency must be in writing to the Membership Chairperson. The written change will include the current member's complete information and the new replacement person's complete information on a VPCA membership application.
     Accredited VPCA Instructors/Evaluators in good standing who have been in VPCA for 20 years or more, may be awarded Lifetime memberships.

     An Associate member shall enjoy all privileges of regular membership except that he/she shall not have any voting privileges, nor shall serve on the Executive Committee Board. All Associate members must provide a current Criminal History Records Check at the time they initially join and upon renewing yearly. Any criminal convictions for crimes are grounds for review by the Membership Committee and can result in denial or revocation of Associate membership. All Associate members must be re-sponsored each year with the signature of a sponsoring member.

Associate members may include:

  • Any person who trains canines for an established law enforcement agency and sponsored by a regular member,
  • Any person sponsored by a regular member.
     Certification of an Associate Member's dogs will be determined by the Instructor/Evaluator. Associate Members dogs can only be certified in the passive tests: Obedience, Agility, Article Search, Area Search, Search and Rescue Area Search, Tracking and Trailing.

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     No Officer, Director, or Member serving on a committee as such, shall receive any salary or compensation for services rendered to the Association. However, Officers, Directors, and Members may be reimbursed for their out of pocket expenses incurred reasonably and necessarily in conducting the affairs of the Association.


     The Executive Board consists of the elected VPCA officers.

     It shall be the duty of the President to call and preside over all regular and special meetings. He/she shall see that the Bylaws and all Rules and Regulations are respected and obeyed. He/she shall cast the deciding vote, in the event of a tie vote. He/she shall appoint committees and may designate their Chairperson.
     He/she shall appoint the following committees:

  • Membership
  • Newsletter
  • Grievance
  • Election
  • Accreditation Committee
  • Any Ad-Hoc committees necessary to conduct the affairs of the Association.
         He/she shall appoint State Coordinators, and shall appoint a Parliamentarian to sit on the Executive Board without voting privileges. He/she shall appoint pro-tempore officers, in the event of absences. He/she shall perform such other duties as are usual and incidental to the office of President. He/she is a member ex-officio of all committees, except the Election Committee.

         The Vice President shall actively assist and support the President in his/her duties and shall be the President pro-tempore in the absence of the President; during which time the Vice President shall assume all the duties and responsibilities of the President. He/she shall be required to attend, with the President, all hearings, committee meetings, conferences, etc., to which the President is required or expected to attend, in the interest of and or on behalf of the membership of this Association in order that he/she may be as informed of all matters concerning the Association as is the President. He/she shall act as liaison between the President and Chairpersons of committees. In the event of a vacancy in the office of President during the elective term, he/she shall succeed to that office for the remainder of the unexpired term.

         It shall be the duty of the Secretary to accurately record the proceeding at meetings, and read the minutes of previous meetings and all communications. He/she shall call the roll of Officers and note absentees. He/she shall communicate and correspond with all persons and organizations both within and outside the Association relative to Executive Committee business. He/she shall receive all moneys in the absence of the Treasurer.

         It shall be the duty of the Treasurer to collect all moneys due to this Association, giving receipt thereof. He/she shall keep a suitable set of books of record of same. He/she shall deposit all moneys of this Association in a bank designated by the Board of Directors. He/she shall render statements in detail at each meeting of the Association, showing receipts and disbursements in full to date, and the moneys in the Treasury. He/she shall draw all checks or other obligations authorized by the President, Executive Committee, and attested to by the Secretary, including payments of all benefits. The account books, as well as all papers in his/her custody, shall be open for inspection and examination by the Board of Directors. He/she shall not lend or invest any of the funds, except when duly authorized by the Executive Committee.

         The Membership Chairperson shall keep a record of all members, the standing of each, and their date of admission and termination. The Membership Chairperson shall be an elected office and is a member of the Executive Board, with full voting privileges. He/she shall be responsible for mailing membership cards, dues notices, and election ballots.

         The Board of Trustees shall consist of three (3) Regular Members and one (1) alternate Regular Member; all members to be elected every four (4) years by ballot.
         The Board of Trustees shall act as agents of the Executive Committee in all financial transactions between the Committee and all other institutions and individuals. They shall designate the banks(s) and or other institutions in which the Treasurer shall deposit such moneys in the general fund, as he/she may have on hand from time to time. They shall, in conjunction with the Treasurer, have custody of all bonds and other securities; which shall be deposited in a safety deposit box in some reliable institution, and shall not be withdrawn there from except in the presence of the Treasurer and at least one member of the Board of Trustees. The Trustees shall be the custodians of all bonds of Officers and all annual audits of the assets and liabilities of the Executive Committee for the year ending December 31st, and submit the financial statement at a regular meeting. They are hereby authorized to employ the services of a Certified Public Accountant, at a reasonable fee to prepare this annual audit and report.
         They shall cause to be made an audit of all books, accounts, funds, etc., of any and all officers, committees, or members who collect and or disburse funds of this Association, not less than once each year or at any time said Board has given just cause to believe such audit should be made.
         The Alternate Member of the Board of Trustees shall attend all meetings of the board, and shall in the absence of a Regular Member act in his place.

         The President shall appoint one Coordinator for each state. State Coordinators may appoint assistants. State Coordinators, or their co-coordinator in the absence of the state coordinator, will have a vote at executive board meetings, except for matters of VPCA accreditation.


         The Executive Committee shall consist of the President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Board of Trustees, Membership Chairperson, State Coordinators and/or co-State Coordinators.
         This committee shall recommend such rules, regulations, amendments or deletions as may be deemed necessary for the governing of the Association. In the case of an emergency, the Executive Board, by Quorum vote, may act for the entire membership. A quorum will consist of the majority of the Executive Board members present. Vacancies which occur in any of the Association's offices, through resignation, death, impeachment, or other reasons with the exception of the President, shall be filled by appointment made by the Executive Board; and shall expire at the next elective term Executive Board meetings except, for matters of VPCA accreditation.
         The only persons eligible to vote at an Executive Board meeting are the elected Executive Board (President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Membership Chairperson, each of the three (3) Trustees). The alternate Trustee would only vote in the absence of one of the elected Trustees. At the beginning of an Executive Board meeting those in attendance eligible to vote will be temporarily issued a VPCA voting card, which they will display when casting their vote.

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         All candidates for office shall be nominated at the General Membership Meeting at the State Training Workshop in the year of the election. At that time, the Judge of Elections will accept mail-in nominations. Mail-in nominations must be accompanied by:

  • Written permission by the nominee, and
  • The signature of the Regular Member making the nomination.

         The Membership Chairperson will mail an appropriate ballot to every Regular Member eligible to vote. The member is to return the ballot to the Judge of Elections using a special lined envelope that is marked "Official Ballot". Only ballots received in the special lined envelope will be counted. Any signature or note written on the ballot that would identify the voter will cause that ballot to be considered invalid. Any envelope that is opened before being received by the Election Committee will be declared invalid.

         Official Ballot envelopes will contain a serial number; starting number will be #1 through the total number of Regular Members eligible to vote on the national mailing list, at the time of mailing. Names of Nominees on the ballots shall be placed in alphabetical order for each office.

         Official Ballot in envelope will be mailed back to the Judge of Elections, postmarked no later than two (2) months after nominations. The Judge of Elections will check the serial number and signature on the envelope against the list supplied to him/her by the Membership chairperson, ensuring that only one (1) envelope with the same number is received.

         The Judge of Elections will hold all Official Ballot envelopes unopened until meeting with the Election Committee at the Fall Executive Committee meeting.

         The current President will appoint a committee of three (3) members, not running for office in the election. One of the committee members will be appointed Judge of Elections. The committee will open the envelopes but not unfold the ballots. The envelopes will be discarded and the ballots will then be unfolded and counted. The committee will attest to the correct total. Ballots will be counted at the Fall Executive Board Meeting. The ballots will be kept for a reasonable length of time.

         A plurality of votes cast shall elect. Members are to be notified as soon as possible.

         Newly elected Officers shall take office at the Fall Executive meeting.

         Election of Officers will be held every four (4) years.

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         "Officers-elect will repeat after me and say, using your name where I do mine."

         "I ______, having been duly elected an Officer of this Association, in the presence of almighty God and this company assembled, do hereby solemnly and sincerely promise that I will, to the best of my ability in word and deed, without fear or favor, faithfully, honestly and with strict impartiality, carry out as an Officer of this Association, the principles of this Association."

         "Now by the power vested in me as Installing Officer on this occasion, I do hereby declare the officers-elect legally installed and qualified to enter upon the discharge of their duties for the term ending December 31, 20__, or until their successors are duly elected and installed."

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         A quorum shall consist of the majority of the Executive Committee present. The President shall call at least two (2) regular meetings of the Executive Committee during the calendar year. He/she shall set dates for such meetings with the approval of the majority of the Executive Committee. There shall be at least one (1) yearly General Membership Meeting and at least one (1) yearly Association Training Workshop. Meetings shall be conducted according to parliamentary law. Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised shall be the guide for conducting all meetings. All Executive Committee members shall be notified adequately in advance as to any and all meetings.

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         It shall be the duty of the Bylaws Committee, which shall consist of three (3) members appointed by the President, to codify all proposed changes, additions, or deletions to the Bylaws. All proposed changes must be submitted in writing to the Bylaws Committee. The Bylaws committee shall present the final form to the Executive Committee, with their recommendations.
         Regardless of any amendment, addition, or deletion being passed unanimously; it shall become null and void if it is in direct conflict with the Articles of Incorporation.

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         The yearly dues of the Association will be $35.00.
         Dues will be collected on JANUARY 1. The Membership Chairperson will mail notices out. After recording the date received and the amount, the Membership Chairperson will forward all moneys to the Treasurer.
         The Membership Chairperson will issue yearly membership cards.
         The Membership Chairperson will notify all members and Chairpersons needing a complete membership mailing list. If a current membership fee is not paid or postmarked by September 1 of the dues year, then their WILL BE a late fee of $10.00 assessed.
         A $25.00 service charge will be assessed for any bad or bounced check, no matter what the reason for it being dishonored. In addition any paperwork, such as certifications, is suspended until the check is made good.
         After December 1, the team will no longer hold a valid VPCA certification for non-payment of dues.

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    ARTICLE 10


         The President shall appoint one (1) member Sergeant At Arms. It shall be his/her duty to preserve order at all meetings, prevent unauthorized persons from attending meetings, and perform other such other duties as may be directed by the President or Presiding Officer.

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    ARTICLE 11


         Any member desiring the privilege of the floor shall rise and address the Chair. No member shall be allowed to speak until properly recognized by the Chair. No questions can come before the meeting unless properly moved, recorded, and declared upon for discussion by the Chair. Any member may call for "ayes" and "nays" on any question. Each member present shall be required to answer to his name on the roll, unless excused by the chair.
         A motion to reconsider must come from a member who votes, with the majority when the motion to reconsider was taken. No member shall leave the room during a meeting, unless the Chair gives permission to that member.
         When any member raises a Point Of Order, a person having the floor shall take his/her seat until the Chair decides the Point, when, if proper, he/she may resume his/her remarks.
         No subject laid on the table shall be taken up again during the same meeting unless it was so understood when disposed of. Any member may appeal to the Association from the decision of the Chair when the question shall be stated thus: "Shall the decision of the Chair be sustained?" It shall be decided by a majority of the votes cast.

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    ARTICLE 12


         Any Officer or member may be removed for any violation of the provisions of the Bylaws, or for any personal conduct that may bring discredit upon the Association. Charges for the impeachment of any Officer or member may be initiated by any two (2) members in good standing, or a Grievance Committee appointed by the President; and shall be presented in writing to the Grievance committee Chairperson. The accused Officer or member will be given a copy of the charges against him/her.
         If the Grievance committee ascertains that there is enough evidence to warrant a hearing, the accused member will be notified of the meeting and location at which the hearing will be held, not less than thirty (30) days prior to the hearing date. The accused shall be given the right to present evidence in his/her behalf at this hearing. Any member filing a complaint will be assessed a $25.00 fee, returnable upon a true finding.
         The Grievance Committee will then decide if the accused is innocent or guilty of the charges, and shall present a recommendation to the Executive Board. If the accused is, in fact, found guilty, the Executive Board will decide his/her penalty.
         If it is decided the charges warrant impeachment, with a majority vote of Executive Committee present, the accused Officer shall be removed from Office and the accused Officer or member shall never hold any Office in the Association.

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    ARTICLE 13


         The Application for Membership shall provide that the applicant, if elected, agrees to abide by these Bylaws and all Rules adopted by the Executive Committee. He/she further agrees to abide by the Code of Ethics.

         No member will act in a manner prejudicial to the Association or to the best interests of the Association. No member will knowingly falsify any record or document in connection with the Certification or Sale of a dog. In any exhibition or workshop, no member will conduct him/herself otherwise than in accordance with the highest traditions and standards of fair play and good sportsmanship.

         Any member in good standing may prefer charges against any other member for alleged conduct in violation of the above Code of Ethics. Such charges must be in writing, signed by the complainant, setting forth the facts upon which the charges are based in a concise and summary manner; and shall be filed with the Grievance Committee Chairperson. The complainant must agree to appear and furnish full evidence in support of the charges, if requested to do so. The Grievance Committee will then proceed as described in Article 12.

         Disciplinary action may include the temporary suspension of privileges, censure, expulsion, or any other appropriate action.

         If the Executive Committee finds that a member in preferring charges against another member did so for spurious reasons, out of improper motives, and/or if the charges are wholly false and without proper foundation; then the Executive Committee, if it desires, may take appropriate disciplinary action against the complainant.

         No disciplinary action shall be taken against a member, be he/she the complainant or accused, unless the member shall have been afforded the opportunity of a hearing before the Grievance Committee with the Right of Appeal to the Executive Committee.

         Every member shall be presumed innocent of misconduct, and disciplinary action shall be taken against a member only if he/she is found guilty of misconduct by evidence that is clear, precise and indubitable.

         Any member who is found guilty by the Grievance Committee and the VPCA Executive Board of any violations of VPCA Bylaws and/or Rules and Regulations, shall have a maximum of sixty (60) calendar days from the date of his/her written notification to file a written appeal of the findings and punishment to the VPCA Executive Board for their consideration. Said appeal will be sent to the VPCA Secretary.

    These Bylaws were last Revised & Reviewed in January 2008, and were approved by the General Membership.


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