Why Become A Police Officer In West Virginia
So you are trying to figure out what to do as a career. Police work is a great career, and has many different opportunities. After a police officer graduates the academy and gets on the road, there are lots of specialized units they can work at, and different ranks that they can achieve.
All states including the Mountaineer state, needs good police officers, so if you want to make a difference in your community, then being a West Virginia police officer is an awesome way to do it. Now no-one thinks being a police officer is an easy job, but it is very rewarding job.
The great thing about the opportunity is that West Virgins has one of the lowest costs of living in the United States, and is lower than the national average.
The cost of living in West Virginia is 13.9% lower then the national average. Growth is looking for West Virginia with an average of 25 new and replacement positions opening each year. Now police officers are never going to be rich, but because of the low cost of living, police officers can live a good life. The average annual salary for police officers in West Virginia is $39,000. Besides the annual salary, a police officer can expect to make overtime. Overtime will come, based on the job alone; criminal arrests will lead to court, and sometimes court will be on an officers day off. There will also be federal overtime available for special duty assignments like DUI enforcement, and drug interdiction.
There are certain minimum requirements, all potential candidates must meet, in order to be considered for hire as a police officer in West Virginia. First and foremost, you must be a United States citizen. The potential candidate must not have any felony convictions, and can not have any drug addictions for obvious reasons. The applicant must have a valid drivers license, and a completed application. Now besides these requirements, there are three more important things that an applicant must go through.
All candidates are required to go through a medical examination. The medical examination is critical because they want to make sure all candidates are going to be healthy enough to do the job and handle the physical training of the police academy. Next they must go through a physical fitness test, and they need to score in the top 40% of the testing recruits. They will also need to go through a background investigation. Now the background is going to be very tough and they will dig into your criminal history, past employers, neighbors and relatives. They will make sure they turn over every rock to make sure you are going to be a good representative of their department.
Now in order to be a police officer, you will need to graduate the police academy. Now there is only one police academy in West Virginia. Now as a candidate enters the academy, they have to understand they will come out different then they went in. The training will be very intense and demanding. Part of the training will be physical training that will push a recruit to their limits and above.
A lot of the training will deal with the physical side, but recruits will also do some book work including learning the criminal and traffic code for West Virginia. Now you will also be taught federal code as well.
Now besides the above listed training there will be more fun activities. One of the most popular trainings is firearms training. A police recruit will learn how to clean their weapon. They will also go through marksmanship training. They will also do combat shooting, and they will be taught when to shoot and not shoot.
Another favorite part of the training is high speed pursuit driving. High speed pursuit driving is very dangerous for both the patrol officer and the suspect, as well as many of innocent people whose lives may be in danger, so training on how to and when to pursue are vital. Also a patrol officer will be taught how to position his vehicle to give himself cover in the event he needs it.
Recruits will also be taught things they will utilize everyday, like radio communications, how to pat a suspect down, handcuffing techniques, report writing and courtroom protocol. Last but not least there are two more areas that are very important to the training of good police officers. First is how to do their work effectively as a first responder. As we saw with 9/11, first responders are crucial to how a situation is handled and controlled. A police officer needs to be safe for himself as well as the people he is responding too and they need to calm the situation instead of making the situation worse then what it needs to be.
The second area is first aid and CPR. These are vital tools that officers need to know because in a lot of situations they may beat the ambulance to the scene. For example imagine a mother puts in a call of a infant not breathing and dispatch sends a new officer. Panic mode would kick in, because you are dealing with an infant. So being the first responder to the situation and knowing CPR could save that infants life, but only if the officer knows what to do.
The best thing about becoming a police officer is when you graduate from the police academy. You as a recruit have the absolute right to be proud of your accomplishments. Not everyone can become a police officer or even make it through the academy. However once you graduate your training is not over.
A rookie police officer will be trained by a veteran officer, and he will be taught the policy and procedures for the specific department he is going to be working for. As a police officer gains experience and proves himself they will be given the opportunity to move up into higher ranks, and also higher pay. At some point and time most police officers will retire from the department they worked at and get a nice pension for the rest of their life.
Now besides moving up in rank, new officers will have the opportunity to work for different specialized units in the department. Depending on the size of the department, they may have units for traffic, community policing, drug enforcement, undercover work, criminal investigation unit, homicide, evidence detection unit and the list goes on and on.
Now one will ever say police work is easy, that would be foolish, but what one can say is that police work is something were we will always need good officers, and police officers are truly valuable here in West Virginia.