how to become a police officer in West Virginia

3 Mistakes That will Likely Cause an
Agency to press pause on your application

Using Texting Language

Not spelling everything out when texting your friends is totally acceptable in this day and age, but doing it on your police job application will be looked down upon so use good grammar when completing your employment application.

Tasteless Comments

Posting discriminatory and offensive comments on social media will likely end your career before it even starts. Any comments made by you meant to offend another person or group will likely eliminate your from the hiring process.

Alcohol & Drugs Posting

Posting pictures of yourself getting drunk and using drugs on social media is one way to get eliminated from the hiring process. Agencies are looking for recruits with good characters, and posting tasteless photos aren't a good sign.

How to Train To Become a Cop

WV Police Requirements:

Minimum Qualifications

  • Must be a United States citizen
  • Must have a clean criminal record
  • Must have a valid WV Driver's License
  • Must Have high school diploma or GED
  • Must Be in good mental and physical condition
  • Must be at least 21 years of age
  • Must pass all stages of the hiring process
  • Must Be someone of good moral character

Disqualification factors to be aware of:

Disqualifiers

  • Criminal History of Excessive Drug Use
  • Being dishonest during the hiring process
  • dishonorable discharge from the military
  • Currently on probation or parole
  • Having offensive & discriminatory tattoos
  • Must not have a poor driving history
  • Domestic Violence Convictions
  • Any Adult felony convictions
  • Submit Your Application
  • Polygraph Test
  • Background Check
  • Oral Review Board
  • Medical Exam
  • Police Academy

Police Training Academy Courses

WV BASIC TRAINING CURRICULUM

  • EVOC
  • Defensive Tactics
  • Firearms
  • DUI/OWI Enforcement
  • Traffic and Criminal Law
  • Crash Investigation
  • First Responder training
  • Active Shooter

Specialized Units in WV

Bicycle Patrol
Canine (K9) Program
Crime Scene Investigation
Drug Task Force
Hostage Negotiations
School Resource Officer (SRO)
Special Response Team (SRT)
Street Crimes Unit
Patrol Unit
Detective Bureau
Narcotics Unit
Parking Enforcement Department
Records Unit
Domestic Violence
Highway Safety
Training
SWAT

According to U.S. labor of bureau statistics (2018) the average salary for a police officer in WV is...

$ 1 *
Average pay per year

* the average salary above does not reflect overtime pay, educational level, promotional pay, shift differential & more

The percentile wage estimate below is the value of a wage below which  certain percent of workers fall. Data collected from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2018)

10th Percentile
$30,490
25th Perentile
$36,030
50th percentile
$43,420
75th percentile
$50,400
90th percentile
$59,190

Find Best Police Jobs in WV

Click below to search for police jobs near me in WV. Browse jobs by city/county or zip code

Steps to become a police officer in West Virginia

Requirements & Qualifications to be a Cop in WV

The minimum age to become a police officer in West Virginia is 21 and candidates must have at least a high school diploma or a GED equivalency certificate. All candidates must apply for basic training starting within 90 days from the date hired by a municipal police agency.

All basic training is held at the West Virginia State Police Academy in Dunbar, WV.  The program is approximately 15 weeks long and is residential. Students will live at the academy while undergoing training.

Although the West Virginia Division of Justice and Community Services www.djcs.wv.gov/About%20the%20Division/Pages/default.aspx, through its Law Enforcement Training (LET) program establishes minimum statewide requirements to become a police officer, individual police agencies may have additional requirements.

For example, some jurisdictions may require some college education, although the state does not require a college education. LET strongly encourages candidates to attend college, saying that a college education will set you apart from the rest of the competition in the job market. A two-year associate degree or completion of a certificate program in criminal justice of criminology is recommended, along with classes in areas such as psychology, sociology and criminology.

You can find a list of police municipal departments throughout the state below.

Disqualifying Factors

In addition to the minimum age of 21 and graduation from high school, the statewide minimum standards include having a valid driver’s license for two years prior to submitting your application to be hired. And you must not have had any domestic violence convictions and no felony convictions on your record.

A complete background check will be conducted to before you are hired to verify any criminal history background, or lack there of. Your fingerprints will be taken as part of the background investigation, and run through state, local and federal data bases, including those of the FBI. In addition the background check may include a driving record check.

Hiring Process: The Medical Exam

A complete medical examination will be required to make certain you have no conditions that would adversely affect your ability to carry out the duties of a police officer. In addition, drug testing will be conducted to rule out any abuse of illegal substances prior to being hired.

Written Exam & Physical Fitness Test Standards

Passing a written test and physical fitness testing may also be requirements imposed by some localities. The written testing will determine levels of competency in vocabulary, reading, spelling, language, and problem solving. Physical fitness testing will generally involve push ups, bent-leg sit-ups and a 1.5 mile run.

As an example, the city of Charleston Police Department requires candidates to complete 18 push-ups and 27 sit-ups in sixty seconds, and complete a 1.5 mile run in 15:20. Other cities may have other standards to meet. You’ll have to check with specific jurisdictions.

Average Salary For Cops in West Virginia

According to the Bureau Of Labor Statistics (2018), a police officer in the state of West Virgina makes between $43,590 per year. However the data collected by BLS is not very accurate because it does not take into account overtime pay or off duty gigs like private security work, special assignments and etc. These factors, if included in the data, would drastically increase the average salary of a police officer in West Virginia.

Police Officer Jobs in West Virginia

There are several law enforcement job openings in West Virginia. Simply visit our Career Job Opening Section or go to the official website of the agency you are interested in to complete an application of employment. Below is a list of law enforcement agencies in the state of West Virginia.

West Virginia State Police Basic Requirements & Qualifications*

West Virginia State law requires an applicant to be at least 21 years of age prior to enlistment. Applicants who are 20 years of age at the onset of testing are permitted to test provided he/she will be 21 years of age by the target date of enlistment.

Proof of age is required upon submission of an application. Acceptable proof of age is a copy of a birth certificate as issued by the county court house in the area in which an applicant is born or a copy of a birth certificate issued by the Department of Vital Statistics.

Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED equivalency.

Proof of education is required upon submission of an application. Acceptable proof of education is a copy of the high school diploma or GED or an original letter signed by the high school principal or counselor certifying date of graduation or date GED attained.

Applicants must have a valid driver’s license for a minimum of two years prior to the date of application.

No prior police training will be substituted for Cadet training.

Applicants must not have any domestic violence convictions.

Applicants claiming military preference as outlined in the Preference of Applicants Section must submit a DD-214 verifying an Honorable Discharge.

Applicants must be eligible to work in the United States.

The Superintendent and/or Cadet Selection Board shall reject an applicant for the following or other conditions or circumstances:

the applicant is found to lack any of the preliminary requirements established for consideration for the position by statute or otherwise,

the applicant has been convicted of a felony crime,

the applicant has made a false statement of material fact or has misrepresented his or her qualifications in the application or subsequent background investigation,

the applicant has been previously dismissed from any public service for delinquency, misconduct, or other similar cause,

the applicant has used or attempted to use political pressure or bribery to secure an advantage in the selection process or appointment,

the applicant has directly or indirectly obtained information regarding the selection process to which, as an applicant, he or she was not entitled,

the applicant has failed to submit the application correctly or within the prescribed time limits,

the applicant has taken part in the compilation, administration, or correction of any examination used in the selection process,

at least three former employers state that they would not re-employ the applicant or otherwise indicate that the applicant’s services as an employee were unsatisfactory, or that the applicant is lacking in character,

the applicant is not eligible to work in the United States,

the applicant has not possessed a valid driver’s license for two years prior to making application,

the applicant has any convictions for a serious traffic offense (e.g. driving while intoxicated, negligent homicide, etc.),

the applicant has any domestic violence convictions,

OR the West Virginia State Police detects or discerns any condition or circumstance involving the applicant that may grossly impair the applicant’s ability to perform the duties attendant to the position of state police officer at any stage of the process.

The Superintendent and/or Cadet Selection Board may reject an applicant for the following or other conditions or circumstances:

the applicant has been rejected during any phase of the selection process and the condition or circumstance causing the rejection still exists,

the applicant has any convictions for misdemeanor crimes involving persons or property,

or the applicant has any type or method of body art that would be normally observable while wearing any State Police uniform.

PHASE I OF TESTING – WRITTEN and PHYSICAL ABILITY EXAMINATION

Entry level testing for trooper is usually held at the West Virginia State Police Academy in Institute, West Virginia. Phase I of testing consists of a written examination and subsequent physical ability examination.

The initial examination includes a judgement-based testing package consisting of a multiple choice test, an observation and writing test along with a reading test. These tests have been designed to measure an applicant’s ability to perform in police related situations. These abilities include human interaction, situational judgement, handling authority, ethics and social maturity, unbiased enforcement and responding calmly to provocation.

Applicants must successfully pass a pre-employment physical agility examination.

The following tests have been validated and demonstrate the ability to perform job-related tasks necessary to carry out the essential functions of the position of state police officer.

The minimum passing scores for employment are as indicated:

SIT-UPS                             Designed to measure abdominal muscular endurance. The score is the
                                            number of bent knee sit-ups performed in one minute. The minimum
                                            standard for this test is 29 sit-ups. 

SIT & REACH                   A test designed to measure flexibility of the lower back and hamstrings,
                                           the test involves stretching out to touch the toes and beyond with extended
                                           arms from the sitting position. The score is measured in inches reached on
                                           a yardstick with the 15″ mark being at the toes. The minimum standard for
                                           this test is a reach of 16.5″. 

PUSH-UPS                       Designed to measure upper body muscular endurance and absolute strength.
                                          The score is the number of push-ups performed in one minute.
                                          The minimum standard for this test is 27. 

1.5 MILE RUN                 Designed to measure cardiovascular capacity. The score is in minutes and
                                         seconds. The minimum standard for this test is completion of the run in 14
                                         minutes and 52 seconds. 

The tests described are graded as pass or fail, acceptance is based upon successfully passing all four measures.

Upon successful completion of Phase I, applicants may be fingerprinted prior to leaving the testing site.

PHASE II – ORAL REVIEW

Applicants are selected by the Cadet Selection Board, based on their Phase I results, to appear before a board of officers for an oral review. Applicants are asked a uniform set of questions and are rated on various dimensions including but not limited to decisiveness, maturity, and other job related interview characteristics.

Scores from Phase I and II of the process are weighted by the Cadet Selection Board. The top applicants are selected for background investigation. The Cadet Selection Board determines the number of applicants selected for background investigation based on the number of current cadet-trooper vacancies.

PHASE III – BACKGROUND INVESTIGATION

Applicants continuing in the process for state police officer undergo an extensive background investigation conducted by a uniformed member of the West Virginia State Police, where possible. Investigations include, but are not limited to, verification of residency, employment, military service, and education, application verification, research into possible criminal activity such as theft and drug usage, credit and driving history. Applicants also undergo a polygraph examination during this portion of the testing process.

PREFERENCE OF APPLICANTS

Upon completion of the background investigation process, the Cadet Selection Board reviews each investigation. At this point, as outlined in 15-2-7 (c) of the West Virginia State Code, preference in making appointments shall be given whenever possible to honorably discharged members of the armed forces of the United States and to residents of West Virginia.

PHASE IV – PSYCHOLOGICAL TESTING

Psychological testing is held at the West Virginia State Academy and is scheduled in two parts. Part one consists of several written exercises and can take up to seven hours to complete. Part two consists of an interview with a psychologist and is usually scheduled two to three weeks after the written tests are administered. Part two of the psychological testing is completed after about thirty minutes.

PHASE V – MEDICAL PHYSICAL

A medical physical is conducted by the physician currently on contract with the West Virginia State Police. This physical is held at the State Police Academy and includes, but is not limited to, laboratory tests such as blood work, urinalysis, electrocardiogram, medical history, and physician’s examination. The medical selection standards established are designed to satisfy the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act and ensure that the standards do not unfairly exclude people from employment as law enforcement officers who are otherwise qualified. Each medical standard listed, has been related to the essential tasks and are therefore validated as legitimate standards.

The medical screening guidelines are all potentially excludable conditions unless otherwise noted. Potentially excludable conditions are defined as any condition specified in the medical screening guidelines which may render a candidate incapable of satisfactorily completing the training necessary to perform the essential tasks which comprise the job of law enforcement officer.

*Make sure to visit the official website of the agency that you are interested in working for as the requirements may have changed.

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