The crime rate in West Virginia is below the national rate, and nearly 90% of the crimes are non-violent. Those who seek law enforcement careers in West Virginia to help continue this situation have a number of options, including jobs as State Troopers with the West Virginia State Police, jobs as Sheriff’s Deputies in one of the many counties in the state, or as municipal Police Officers in West Virginia.
Jobs with the West Virginia State Police
The West Virginia State Police is one of the oldest state police agencies in the U.S. It maintains the safety of the state’s roadways and protects the public from criminal elements. As of June 2012, there were 650 West Virginia State Troopers in the Field Operations Division. They answered over 174,000 calls and made nearly 15,000 felony arrests during the 2012 Fiscal Year.
West Virginia residents who seek jobs as State Troopers in West Virginia must be 21-39 years old before enlistment and possess a high school diploma or GED. Applicants must first submit an application to the personnel center. When called, they must pass a physical test before being able to take a written exam. Read more about how to become a State Trooper in West Virginia.
Jobs with Sheriff’s Departments in West Virginia
The 55 counties in the state provide a number of opportunities for residents to find jobs as Sheriff’s Deputies in West Virginia.
Berkeley County: The Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department has 56 sworn officers who protect the citizens of the county. Those who seek jobs as Sheriff’s Deputies in Berkeley County should fill out an application with the Berkeley County Government.
Kanawha County: The Deputy Sheriffs of the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office provide law enforcement functions in the unincorporated areas of the county. Those who seek jobs as Sheriff’s Deputies in Kanawha County must first submit an application. They must be 18-45 years old and have a high school diploma or GED. Applicants will undergo physical fitness and written exams. Those who pass must then undergo a background check, interviews, and psychiatric and medical examinations. Deputy Sheriff recruits undergo training at the West Virginia State Police Academy.
Wood County: The Wood County Sheriff’s Office had 38 sworn officers as of June 2012. They responded to over 25,000 calls for service and made 678 arrests during the fiscal year 2012.
Jobs with Municipal Police Departments in West Virginia
U.S. citizens who wish to become Police Officers in West Virginia have a number of opportunities at the many municipal police departments located throughout the state.
Charleston: The violent crime rate in Charleston is one of the highest in the country. The 162 sworn personnel of the Charleston Police Department work to combat this situation. Those who seek jobs as a Police Officer in Charleston must be 18-40 years old and have a high school diploma or a GED. Before being hired, they must pass a written exam and a test of physical ability. They must also undergo a background check, psychological screening, and both physical and medical examinations. Training to be a Police Officer in Charleston consists of an approximately 15 week long Basic Police Officer Academy Class at the West Virginia State Police Academy.
Huntington: Huntington historically has had a high crime rate compared to other cities in the country, although the number of violent crime and drug offenses has been greatly reduced by the Huntington Police Department during the five years leading up to 2011. The department was honored as the law enforcement agency of the year in West Virginia’s Southern District.
U.S. citizens who seek jobs as Police Officers in Huntington must be 18-40 years old and possess a high school diploma or GED. Applicants pass a series of examinations, including written, background, polygraph, and physical ones. In addition, they must also pass an agility test and undergo an oral interview.
Parkersburg: Parkersburg has a very high crime rate for a city of its size. The Parkersburg Police Department employs nearly 100 people who work to combat this. U.S. citizens who seek jobs as Police Officers in Parkersburg must be 18-40 years old at the time of their application and possess a high school diploma or GED.
Wheeling: Wheeling has a high crime rate for its size. Members of the Wheeling Police Department work to reverse this. U.S. citizens who seek jobs as Police Officers in Wheeling must be 18-35 years old at the time they apply and possess a high school diploma or GED. Applicants must pass a physical agility test and a written civil service exam. Training to be a Police Officer in Wheeling involves four weeks of training within the department and 16 weeks of Basic Police Officer Training at the West Virginia State Police Academy.
West Virginia Law Enforcement Salaries
The Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-2013 Edition, a statistical occupation guide released by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, found these to be the median West Virginia law enforcement salaries in 2010:
- Supervisors of Police and Detectives: $51,000
- Detectives and Criminal Investigators: $38,400
- Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers: $36,080
Salaries for Detectives and Criminal Investigators throughout West Virginia
Police Officer and Sheriff Salary in West Virginia
The median police officer salary in West Virginia is $36,080. However, this varies according to the different cities throughout the state. For example, in the Morgantown area, police officers earn a median of $37,330, while those in the 90th percentile earn about $46,950. Charlestown is one of the higher paying locations for police officers in West Virginia with a median annual salary of $41,290 and those in the top ten percent earning in excess of $51,000 per year.
Salaries for Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers in West Virginia
State Trooper Salary in West Virginia
The median state trooper salary in West Virginia is around $29,800. Those in the top ten percent, however, earn a little over $60,000 per year. In Charleston, state troopers earn a median salary of $25,920, while those in the 90th percentile earn nearly $38,000. The metropolitan area of Hagerstown and Martinsburg is a higher paying area where the median is about $30,780.
Salaries for Police Supervisors and Detectives in West Virginia