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How to Become a Police Officer in West Virginia

Becoming a Police Officer in Charleston, West Virginia

As the city’s police departments says, “Becoming a police officer in Charleston is not just a choice. It’s a calling.” Charleston police jobs are not for everyone. As a candidate for police jobs in Charleston, West Virginia, you will undergo months of rigorous physical and mental training. Despite this, Charleston cops will tell you it is worth the sacrifice to be able to feel like you are making a positive difference.

If becoming a police officer in Charleston sounds like something for you, then study up on the application process described below:

  1. Basic requirements
  2. Written exam
  3. Physical ability test
  4. Oral interview
  5. Background investigation
  6. Medical examination
  7. Psychological Assessment
  8. Training

Step 1. Meeting Police Officer Requirements

The first step of how to become a cop in Charleston is to meet the prerequisites:

  • U.S. citizen
  • High school graduate or GED
  • Mostly clean driving, criminal, and illegal drug use record
  • Between the ages of 18-40
  • Driver’s license
  • Good moral character
  • Height-weight proportional

Step 2. Written Exam

When you are satisfied that you meet the basic requirements your next step will be to mail in or hand deliver a pre-application form to the Charleston city clerk’s office.

This is a simple two-page form that asks some basic information about you such as your address, previous employers, and previous residences. It is also a test to see if you can fill out forms completely, so make sure you do this. If everything looks good you will hear back from the city with a time when you can take your written exam. This evaluates your basic knowledge in the areas of:

  • Spelling
  • Language
  • Mathematics
  • Problem solving
  • Vocabulary
  • Reading comprehension

Step 3. Physical Ability Test

You will receive a ranking on the civil service list based on your written exam results, and if this ranking is high enough you will continue in the application process with a physical ability test. You will earn a higher ranking if your performance exceeds the minimum standards, which are:

  • Push-ups: 18 in one minute
  • Sit-ups: 27 in one minute
  • 1.5-mile run: Completed in 15.33 minutes

Your score from the physical ability test will be combined with your written test, with the result determining your final rank on the civil service list. When the Charleston police department is hiring you will be chosen to continue in the application process if your ranking is high enough.

Step 4. Oral Interview

Your next step in becoming a police officer in Charleston will be to appear for an oral interview. The Charleston PD will instruct you on the documents you should bring with you, one of which will be a personal history questionnaire. This will be used during your background investigation and you must answer all questions fully and honestly. Your oral interview will be the time when police department officials get a feel for your communication and personal skills.

Step 5. Background Investigation

Information from your personal history questionnaire will have included:

  • Previous residences
  • Previous employers
  • Education history
  • Military record
  • Financial information including a credit report
  • Driving history
  • Criminal history
  • Previous illegal drug use or prescription drug abuse

A detective will examine your background questionnaire thoroughly and meet with you at least once to discuss your responses. Your detective will verify all your answers through records and by conducting personal interviews.

You will also need to undergo a polygraph examination that will focus on any red flags raised up to this point in your background investigation, but may include any other topics as well.

Step 6. Medical Examination

If your background investigation has been successful you will proceed to the medical examination. A doctor will check your vital signs, perform a through physical examination, administer a drug test, and check your hearing and vision.

Step 7. Psychological Assessment

You will also need to have a psychological assessment to make sure you are capable of withstanding the pressures and stress of being a cop in Charleston. The psychologist will also make sure you do not have any mental issues that would get in the way of the successful performance of your job duties.

Step 8. Training

After you have passed a final review by senior department hiring officials you will be eligible to begin your police academy training held at the West Virginia State Police Academy. This is a 15-week academy where you will learn the basic skills you will use every day on the job. This is followed by a field training program back at the Charleston police department. Your training will include subject areas such as:

  • Defensive driving and maneuvers
  • Self-defense
  • Firearms training
  • Use of non-lethal weapons
  • Family issues
  • Juvenile justice system
  • Domestic violence
  • Patrol strategies
  • Interrogation strategies

Becoming a Police Officer in Huntington, West Virginia

In addition to the ideological benefits the Huntington Police Department offers its new recruits – satisfaction from community service, making a positive difference, a sense of teamwork, and more – it also offers some very practical benefits: a starting salary over $35,000, paid overtime, holidays, pension, and an excellent medical benefits package.

If joining the distinguished ranks of the Huntington Police Department sounds like something for you then take some time to review this guide to learn how to become a cop in Huntington, West Virginia:

  1. Basic requirements
  2. Application
  3. Tests
  4. Background investigation
  5. Health check
  6. Oral interview
  7. Training

Step 1. Meeting Police Officer Requirements in Huntington

Your first order of business is to confirm you are capable of meeting the minimum qualifications for becoming a police officer in Huntington:

  • U.S citizen
  • Between the ages of 18 and 40
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Have a mostly clean criminal record
  • Be in good physical shape

Step 2. Application

Next you will need to check with the Huntington PD to see if they are hiring. The initial application is a two-page basic municipal application that asks about any previous police experience and your employment history. Fill out the application completely and legibly, returning it to the city clerk’s office in city hall by the application due date.

Step 3. Tests

If your application is complete and you meet the minimum qualifications the Huntington PD may schedule you for a physical ability test. You will need to complete three events listed below with their minimum requirements. If you exceed the minimum score you will be ranked higher:

  • Sit-ups: 27 completed in one minute
  • Push-ups: 18 completed in one minute
  • 1.5-mile run: Completed in 15.33 minutes

If you pass your physical agility test you will be scheduled to complete a written exam on a later date. This is administered by the Huntington Police Civil Service Division and will cover basic topics such as:

  • Reading comprehension
  • Mathematics
  • Writing ability
    • Spelling
    • Grammar
    • Punctuation

Step 4. Background Investigation

You have now made it through the initial testing phase. You have shown you have the basic physical and mental abilities to become a cop in Huntington. Your background investigation will determine if you have the moral capabilities for the job.

You will start by filling out a detailed questionnaire that asks you to list:

  • Criminal record
  • Financial record and credit report
  • Entire employment history
  • Past residences
  • History of driving offenses
  • History of past illegal activities

A detective will be assigned to complete your background investigation who will review your questionnaire with you and ask additional questions. Your detective will also conduct interviews with people who have known or observed you over periods of time, such as your neighbors, employers, professors, coworkers, friends, and family.

You will also need to take a polygraph examination that will look at any issues raised in your background questionnaire or from interviews with people who know you. Make sure to be fully honest and omit nothing; if you are found to be interfering with the examination or making dishonest statements you will be determined untrustworthy and eliminated from the application process.

Step 5. Health Check

Medical Examination – If you have been proven to be reliable with an exceptional moral character you will have two health checks scheduled by the Huntington police department. The first will be a medical examination that includes a rigorous physical exam, hearing test, vision check, and drug test.

Psychological Evaluation – After being okayed by the doctor a psychologist will conduct an interview with you to determine your ability to handle job-related stress and your overall mental health.

Step 6. Oral Interview

Finally you will be interviewed by Huntington police officials as well as members from the local community. This last step before your training begins is a review of your entire application process up to this point and a chance for you to confirm your trustworthiness and ideological commitment to a job as a Huntington police officer.

Step 7. Training

Your basic training will consist of an intensive 15-week academy conducted at the West Virginia State Police. This is located on a 24-acre development in the town of Institute. Facilities include a large dining area, gun range, conference rooms, and many more amenities. The Huntington PD will provide you with additional months of field training after your basic academy with field training officers. Areas of your training will focus on:

  • Firearms and non-lethal weapons tactics
  • Juvenile legal issues
  • Domestic violence and family matters
  • Criminal justice system
  • Driving maneuvers
  • Self-defense techniques
  • Report writing

Becoming a Police Officer in Morgantown, West Virginia

Morgantown police officers provide law enforcement services to the city’s nearly 30,000 full-time residents and 25,000 college students who attend West Virginia University. Morgantown police jobs offer you the opportunity to work alongside 65 fellow officers to serve and protect the people within the 11 square miles that make up the city limits.

This guide will take you through the steps necessary to become a cop in Morgantown, West Virginia:

  1. Minimum Requirements
  2. Application
  3. Tests
  4. Panel Interview
  5. Background Investigation
  6. Medical and Psychological Evaluations
  7. Training Academy

Step 1. Meeting Police Officer Requirements in Morgantown

When considering becoming a police officer in Morgantown first check to see if you meet the minimum requirements:

  • Between the ages of 18-40
  • U.S. citizen
  • Soon after hire establish a residence within a 15-mile radius of city hall
  • High school diploma or GED
  • Good moral character
  • No significant criminal convictions or driving infractions

Step 2. Application

You may pick up an application for a $25 fee from the Morgantown finance department only when the police department is hiring. Make sure to return the fully completed application by the due date to the city clerk’s office, at which point you will be scheduled for a written exam and physical ability test.

Step 3. Tests

The passage of two basic tests will be your next step in the process of joining the ranks of the Morgantown PD. These are:

  • Written Exam: This tests your basic levels of:
    • Writing abilities
    • Reading comprehension
    • Mathematical reasoning
    • Critical thinking
  • Physical Agility Test: To ensure you are capable of the basic physical demands of a Morgantown cop you must be able to complete the following events:
    • 18 push-ups in one minute
    • 27 sit-ups in one minute
    • A 1.5-mile run completed in 15.33 minutes

Step 4. Panel Interview

A group of Morgantown police officials will sit down with you at a table for an interview. You will need to answer questions about your background, previous employment, reliability, and tell what you would do in scenarios given by your panel interviewers.

Step 5. Background Investigation

Perhaps the longest part of your application process, your background check may take several weeks to complete. You will begin by filling out a background questionnaire that you will turn in to a detective. The questionnaire will include information about:

  • Employment history
  • Driving record
  • Criminal record
  • Financial history and credit report
  • Military history
  • Past residences
  • Personal references

Your investigating detective will review your background questionnaire and meet with you to discuss its contents. After sketching out a basic narrative of your life throughout the past decade your background detective will next interview people who have known or been associated with you in the past. This includes everyone from your former neighbors to high school classmates to your colleagues at work.

You will also be required to take a polygraph examination conducted by a professional interrogator who will have consulted with your background detective about questions to ask you. These may include questions about your past illegal activities, financial dishonesty, or actions of moral turpitude.

Step 6. Medical and Psychological Evaluations

Before you begin your police training academy the Morgantown PD will want to make sure you are in premium physical and mental health. They will schedule you for a physical examination along with a hearing and vision check plus a drug test. Next you will need to sit down with a psychiatrist for an evaluation of your mental health. If you have any problems with your psychological health it will be better to address them now than later.

Step 7. Training Academy

After being accepted by a final departmental review you will be ready to undertake the West Virginia State Police Training Academy. This is a 16-week training course offered to new police recruits across the state of Virginia on the 24-acre institute facilities. After your basic training you will return to the Morgantown police department to start your on-the-job training with a field training officer. Important topics covered in your training are:

  • Report writing
  • Criminal justice system
  • Domestic violence
  • Patrolling and drunk drivers
  • CPR and first aid
  • Defensive driving
  • Interrogation techniques
  • Firearms training and non-lethal weapons

Becoming a Police Officer in Parkersburg, West Virginia

As a Parkersburg police officer you will have your work cut out for you. In a recent year the department’s 65 sworn officers responded to 44,780 calls for service. You will have a choice of jobs, including everything from the SWAT team to bicycle patrol and the street crimes unit.

If patrolling and serving the citizens of Parkersburg, West Virginia sounds like the calling for you, then review this instructional guide for information on how to become a cop in Parkersburg:

  1. Minimum requirements
  2. Apply
  3. Tests
  4. Interview
  5. Background investigation
  6. Health evaluations
  7. Training

Step 1. Meeting Police Officer Requirements in Parkersburg

Your first step on the road to Parkersburg police jobs is to meet the minimum qualifications:

  • Driver’s license
  • Between the ages of 18-40
  • U.S. citizen
  • High school diploma or GED
  • Be in good physical shape
  • Have a relatively clean criminal and driving record

Step 2. Apply

You can pick up an application at the Parkersburg police department on the third floor of the municipal building or download one from the police department’s website. This is a six page packet that you must complete fully and legibly. Also keep in mind that becoming a police officer in Parkersburg means you will have a to go through a process that may take several months to complete.

Step 3. Tests

You will hear back from the Parkersburg PD if your application passes an initial screening and be scheduled for a physical ability test. You must meet the following standards and will be awarded a higher score for a better performance:

  • Sit-ups: 27 in one minute
  • Push-ups: 18 in one minute
  • 1.5-mile run: completed in 15.33 seconds

Next you will take a basic written test designed to measure your abilities in writing, reading comprehension, and mathematics. You should be able to perform at a high school level.

Step 4. Interview

If your test scores rank you ahead of most other candidates you will be invited to the police department for an interview to be conducted with several police department officials. You will be asked what you would do in a variety of hypothetical scenarios for one portion of the interview. Another portion will focus on determining your character based on questions about your past work experience and other personal events.

Step 5. Background Investigation

Part of becoming a police officer in Parkersburg means going through the process of a thorough background investigation. First a detective will take a written or oral statement from you regarding your previous illegal activities including those for which you were not caught, as well as any murky financial dealings or immoral activities in which you have participated in the past. Example questions are:

  • Have you ever bought something you assumed or knew was stolen?
  • Have you ever failed to pay or been dishonest when paying your income tax or child support?
  • Have you ever changed price tags on merchandise?
  • Have you ever bought or sold sexual activity?
  • Have you ever used illegal drugs or misused prescription medication?

The background investigation detective will also conduct personal interviews with people you have had prolonged contact with, such as your personal references, colleagues, neighbors, etc. Your detective will also examine your records including:

  • Driving abstract and traffic violations
  • Financial records and credit report
  • Employment history
  • Education history
  • Criminal records
  • Military history

Finally you will be required to complete a polygraph examination. Make sure you tell the full and complete truth as incriminating as it may be. The Parkersburg PD is more concerned about your present honesty and reliability than any past slip ups you may have had.

Your background investigation should be completed in a matter of weeks. If at this point you are one of the top candidates for Parkersburg police jobs you will be made a conditional offer of employment.

Step 6. Health Evaluations

The Parkersburg police department will schedule you for two health evaluations:

  • A medical evaluation to check your overall health. You will have a thorough physical examination and drug test, as well as a vision and hearing check.
  • A psychological evaluation to make sure you have stable mental health and are capable of handling a high stress load.

Step 7. Training

As your final step to becoming a Parkersburg cop you will complete a 15-week basic training course on the beautiful 24-acre state police training academy. Afterward you will have an additional period of training with the Parkersburg police department and then be fully ready to step into your new career. Areas of training include:

  • Report writing
  • Crime scene and accident investigation
  • Self-defense and non-lethal weapons
  • Defensive driving
  • Firearms
  • Criminal justice system
  • Domestic violence
  • Juvenile justice system
  • People with mental illness

Becoming a Police Officer in Wheeling, West Virginia

In Wheeling, West Virginia, police jobs are available to candidates with above average moral character and critical thinking skills. Wheeling’s sworn and uniformed civil servants have the opportunity to help those in need, and work with children in schools, all while enforcing the law.

A story recently surfaced that showed the level of true civic duty the department demonstrates: Wheeling police officers recently discovered a man who had been beaten laying in a parking lot and bloodied. Officers were able to follow a trail of evidence to a nearby house, where upon knocking on the door they found a man whose clothes were also bloodied, and who they subsequently arrested for the attack.

If you think you have what it takes to become a police officer in Wheeling, West Virginia then use this guide to review the application process:

  1. Minimum requirements
  2. Application
  3. Testing
  4. Background investigation
  5. Medical examination and psychological evaluation
  6. Interview with the chief
  7. Training

Step 1. Meeting Police Officer Requirements in Wheeling

The first step for how to become a cop in Wheeling is to meet the minimum requirements:

  • 18-40 years of age
  • Driver’s license
  • High school diploma or GED
  • U.S. citizen
  • No felony, DUI, or domestic violence convictions
  • Must live in or near the city within six months of employment

Step 2. Application

The city of Wheeling maintains a list of eligible candidates to draw from when there are job openings with the police department. You must complete four tasks in order to gain a ranked position on this list:

  • Submit an application
  • Pass a written civil service exam
  • Pass a physical agility test
  • Submit a background questionnaire

Wheeling only accepts applications once every two years to establish its list of eligible candidates, or when it has exhausted this list. Check with the police department’s facebook page, the municipal jobs page, or other local media to see when applications are being accepted.

When you do fill out an application, keep in mind that the city of Wheeling reserves the right to discard incomplete or sloppy applications.

Step 3. Testing

Once you have turned in your application you will be eligible to sign up and complete the civil service exam, physical ability test, and background questionnaire. The civil service exam tests your basic level in the areas of:

  • Math
  • Reading comprehension
  • Report writing
    • Grammar
    • Spelling
    • Punctuation
    • Vocabulary
  • Problem solving
  • Critical thinking

The physical ability test will be graded as pass/fail, according to these standards:

  • 1.5-mile run completed in less than 15 minutes and 5 seconds
  • 18 push-ups
  • 27 sit-ups

The background questionnaire will ask questions about your previous illegal activity and immoral behavior. You will have a polygraph examination if you make it further in the application process that will revisit this questionnaire.

Step 4. Background Investigation

If your name has been selected from the eligibility list you will continue the application process with a background investigation. You will be scheduled to attend a meeting with your investigating detective and bring documents that verify you meet the minimum requirements for a job with the Wheeling police department. Your investigating detective will ask you questions about your past employment, education, military service, and your motivations for wanting to become a police officer in Wheeling. You will also be questioned about any previous illegal or immoral activity.

The detective may conduct interviews with any of the following people:

  • Neighbors
  • Colleagues and classmates
  • Personal references
  • Friends and family
  • Former teachers and managers

You will also need to complete a polygraph examination. This will examine further any issues that have arisen in your background investigation that raise eyebrows within the Wheeling PD. Besides being an investigation, you should also hopefully consider this process a confirmation of your good character.

Step 5. Medical Examination and Psychological Evaluation

Next the Wheeling PD will schedule you for a medical examination. This will be conducted by a licensed physician who will check your hearing, vision, vital signs, administer a drug test, and perform a thorough physical checkup.

Your psychological evaluation will check your resilience to job-related pressures and confirm your mental health is capable of meeting the job requirements of a Wheeling cop.

Step 6. Interview with the chief

Your final step of the application process before being cleared to begin your training will be a meeting with the chief of police. Make sure to dress nicely; this will be a final review of your performance and evaluations thus far throughout the application process and you should impress the chief with good communication skills, a firm handshake, and direct eye contact. Most important though is to be yourself so the Wheeling police department can be comfortable with who they are hiring.

Step 7. Training

After a successful interview with the chief you will be considered a probationary police officer for one year, during which time you will complete the following training:

  • Wheeling Department Training: This will last four weeks and include:
    • Department orientation
    • Department policies and procedures
    • Defensive training
    • Firearms qualifications
  • Basic Police Officer Training: Conducted at the West Virginia State Police Academy, this is a 16-week program required for state certification of all West Virginia police. Training includes:
    • Criminal justice system
    • Report writing
    • Non-lethal weapons training
    • Interrogation techniques
    • Domestic violence and family issues
  • Wheeling PD Field Officer Training: Back with the Wheeling PD you will complete an additional 14 weeks of on-the-job training with a specialized field training officer before you will be ready to patrol on your own.

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