Even when millions of people are losing jobs, law enforcement officers are always needed.

Beckley Police Department officials say their agency can provide secure employment at a time when practically nothing else is stable.

The Beckley Police Department is conducting a recruitment drive that will end at 4:30 p.m. April 30, said Capt. Jeff Shumate, chief of detectives. Written applications, available now at the police department and Beckley City Hall, must be turned in at city hall by that date and time.

Right now, the department has one position open, and it expects another vacancy in the next two weeks, Shumate said. Two others are also eligible for retirement, and a third will be eligible once this list from which the department can hire expires in two years.

Shumate noted the nationwide economic downturn and said law enforcement is a much more secure occupation than most others.

“In a time of economic downturn, law enforcement offers steady employment,” he said. “It appears to be very secure employment for years to come. Law enforcement has become a community necessity for numerous different reasons. We have consistently seen agencies keep employees during downturn. Some are actually hiring.”

After filling out the initial application, candidates will have to take a competitive written exam at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center at 6 p.m. May 14, Shumate said. Those with the top scores will then take physical agility testing. Candidates who pass this will then move to a background check portion of the hiring process that includes interviews, credit checks, criminal history checks and a polygraph examination.

Anyone hired as a Beckley police officer must move into Raleigh County within 18 months of hire.

“I think law enforcement is a way you can give back to the community — be able to make a difference,” Shumate said.

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