By Mannix Porterfield
How’s this for a job description?
Must be willing to relocate and work in any of the 55 counties of West Virginia.
Have to work any shift assigned to you and be on call. Moreover, this is a statewide job, and there is no guarantee the county designated as your employment will be your base.
Primarily, you protect West Virginia’s wildlife, and this could mean wading a tough stream or climbing up some rugged terrain. But you can exercise any powers of state troopers.
That means anything from a speeder to a murderer can be the subject of your arrest powers.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, the five job openings are as police officers in the Division of Natural Resources.
Anyone looking to fill one of the five vacant slots must pass a physical agility test. Applicants must report to the lobby of the South Charleston Community Center either at 8 a.m. May 17, a Friday, or at 9 a.m. on May 17, a Saturday. Walk-ins are welcome.
“Like every policy agency, we’re covering everything we can,” DNR Director Frank Jezioro said Wednesday.
“Guys in some counties are stretched pretty thin. We’d like to have more. We’d like to have some where we only have one in a county or one covering two counties.”
Lt. Col. Jerry Jenkins of the DNR’s law enforcement division said the agency has 115 officers, but only around 75 are actual field officers.
“We’ve lost some funding for some positions,” he said, noting the DNR had some 135 officers when he first joined the agency.
Natural resources police officers have the authority to deal with any violation of West Virginia laws committed in their presence, he noted.
The physical exam consists of a 37.5-yard swim, an agility test calling for completion of at last 18 pushups and 27 sit-ups in proper form, both phases in one minute, and a 1.5-mile run in 15 minutes and 20 seconds or less.
Applicants must bring long pants and T-shirt for the fully clothed swim test (no jeans or sweatpants) and a change for the running test.
Not only must candidates be physically fit, but bring some mental qualifications to the table as well.
At a minimum, they must be graduates of an accredited four-year college or university. Preference will be given to majors in natural sciences, law enforcement, criminology, or criminal justice.
Under certain circumstances, employment as a police officer may be substituted.
Gender is no barrier, the DNR emphasized.
“We’re looking for a few good men and women,” Jenkins said, noting that the DNR currently has no female police officers on the payroll.
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