Kanawha County is home to almost 200,000 people, making it the most populated county in West Virginia. Charleston, the capitol of West Virginia, is located in Kanawha County. Newly-hired Kanawha County sheriff’s deputies will most likely have road patrol duties such as answering emergency calls and investigating crimes and vehicle accidents, although other possible assignments include bailiff duty at the courthouse, bomb squad, digital forensics, dive team, or K9 Unit duty, among others.
The sheriff’s office gives additional consideration to applicants who have previous law enforcement experience, or who have served in the U.S. military.
This guide will tell you how to become a Kanawha County Sheriff’s Deputy in five steps:
- Meet basic eligibility requirements
- Pass a physical fitness and written test
- Undergo a background check and panel interview process
- Pass polygraph, psychological, medical, and drug screening tests
- Attend the West Virginia State Police Academy
- Grand Canyon University - B.S. in Justice Studies and M.S. in Criminal Justice
- Southern New Hampshire University - A.S. in Criminal Justice, B.S. in Criminal Justice - Criminology, and M.S. in Criminal Justice
- Liberty University - M.S. in Criminal Justice – Law Enforcement Leadership
- Grantham University - B.A in Criminal Justice - Optional Concentration in Homeland Security or Computer Forensic Investigation
- Rasmussen College - Law Enforcement Associate's Degree and Post-Degree Certificates; Criminal Justice Bachelor's Degrees
- Strayer University - Bachelors of Science Degree in Criminal Justice
- Michigan State University - Online Master of Science in Law Enforcement Intelligence and Analysis
- Saint Joseph's University - Online Master of Science in Criminal Justice
- Utica College - Online Bachelor's of Science in Criminal Justice
Step 1. Meet the Basic Qualifications for Kanawha County Deputy Sheriff Candidacy
You must meet certain basic qualifications before applying for a Kanawha County Deputy Sheriff’s job. You must have:
- A high school diploma or GED equivalent
- U.S. citizenship
- No felony convictions
- A valid driver’s license
- Be between the ages of 18 and 45 when applying
- Be willing and able to work at all hours
Print and fill out this application to begin the process of becoming a Kanawha County Deputy Sheriff. You may also pick up paper applications at the county clerk’s office and the county courthouse. Once the application is complete, you can mail or hand deliver it to the county clerk’s office.
Once you have submitted your application, you will be notified of upcoming tests by certified mail. The letter will advise you when and where job testing is scheduled. The time, date and location of tests will also be published in local newspapers.
Step 2. Pass Written and Physical Fitness Tests
If you meet the basic qualifications for employment, you will attend a scheduled written aptitude test, and a physical fitness test. The sheriff’s office advises you to consult your doctor before taking the physical exam, and also advises gradual training, in advance. The sheriff’s office website posts a recommended 12-week training regimen to help you prepare for the physical exam.
In order to pass the physical exam, you must:
- Complete at least 27 correctly completed push-ups within one minute
- Complete at least 29 correctly completed sit-ups within one minute
- Complete a 1.5 mile run within 14 minutes and 52 seconds
The physical test is pass/fail, and all of its elements must be completed successfully in order for you to advance in the application process.
Step 3. Pass the Background Investigation and Interview
Applicants who pass the written and physical tests are required to undergo a thorough background check. You must fill out a background check questionnaire with information about your family, your education, past employers, any military service, your driving record, any past drug use and any arrests and/or convictions. You should gather all required supporting documentation. You will also be required to provide five references that do not include family members or employers, to list the names of three close friends, and to write a short essay about your goals, why you want to become a police officer, and what you have to offer the citizens of the county.
If you advance beyond the background check, you will attend a panel interview that will follow up on the information you provided. You should be prepared to expand on your essay and to answer, not just typical interview questions, but questions pertaining to law and law enforcement. Advance preparation with an interview coach may be helpful.
Step 4. Pass Polygraph, Psychological, Medical and Drug Screening Tests
While filling out the background check questionnaire, applicants must also agree to undergo a polygraph test, a psychiatric evaluation and medical tests to determine if they are mentally and physically fit for service as deputy sheriffs. Job seekers who pass the background check and panel interview may expect these three tests to follow. Drug testing is likely to be part of the medical evaluation.
Step 5. Attend Kanawha County Deputy Sheriff Training
If you advance successfully to the end of the application process, you will be hired as a deputy sheriff on a provisional basis. You will then embark on a year-long probationary period, during which you will be required to attend the West Virginia State Police Academy for 14 -16 weeks.
During this time, you will receive classroom training, firearms and self-defense training, physical fitness training and driver’s training. You will be expected to pass all these courses. After graduation, you will begin a 14-week period of field training with a veteran partner. At the end of your field training period, the sheriff will give you your first assignment.
As of March 2013, the starting salary for a Kanawha County Deputy Sheriff is $34,000 annually.