FAIRMONT — The Fairmont Police Department is looking for qualified police officers.
City Clerk Janet Keller is accepting applications through Friday, June 4 at 1 p.m., which will be followed by a written exam on Saturday, June 26.
Keller said applicants are encouraged to contact the City Clerk’s Office for an application packet by contacting 304-366-6212, extension 329 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fairmont Police Chief Steve Shine said the process is multi-faceted. He said it always starts off with a written civil services exam given by a standardized testing company from out of state.
If applicants are successful in passing the written test they move onto a physical agility test where the prospective officer has to pass a run, sit-up, and push-up test to show that they’re in good shape.
“People who are successful start into the background portion of it where we’ll evaluate their neighbors and work history and friends and credit history, criminal history and driving record. A whole plethora of things to make sure they’re a good rounded candidate,” Shine said.
After this process, candidates will move on to a polygraph test that’s administered in another county. Questions are asked about the criminality, drug use and employment history.
“If they pass the polygraph test then they’ll move on to a psychological exam. They’re sent to a psychologist to evaluate their success at being a police officer,” Shine said.
Applicants are also examined to determine their physical fitness for duty. Prospective officers will have to go through a panel interview where three veteran police officers, who are usually supervisor,s ask the candidate a multitude of questions and evaluate their ability to answer them.
Shine said it is hard to find people that find it rewarding being a professional police officer. He said the department prides itself on making sure that people pass all portions of the tests and get approval from everybody involved in the process.
“There’s just multiple steps in trying to find [candidates]. We usually go from 30 or 40 applicants in the beginning which ends up getting narrowed down from our last selection process that started in January, we ended up with two candidates that were hired last week,” Shine said.
Characteristics that Shine looks for in a police officer are integrity, the ability to have good judgment, strong communication skills, and a commitment to making a positive difference in the community. Shine said police officers also need to be personable.
“Communication skills are key in this job when we’re considering the multiple faucets we have to deal with in different things other than just law enforcement,” Shine said.
Applicants must be between the age of 18 and 40 on the date of application. They must possess a valid driver’s license, and have a high school diploma or GED. Prospective officers must also have a permanent residence within the boundaries of Marion, Monongalia, Harrison or Taylor counties for at least one year up to their date of appointment.
According to a press release from the city, the benefit package for a new hire police officer has a starting salary of $39,998 — which jumps to $41,398 on July 12— with a salary of $46,383 after one year probation.
Each officer will earn two weeks vacation after the first year, 12–14 paid holidays per year, and six personal days per year after the completion of the probationary period. Each officer is offered PEIA health insurance. The City of Fairmont offers a $5,0000 additional cash incentive for Certified W.Va. Officers.