"It's a new tool for us."
According to Raleigh County Sheriff Scott Van Meter, the department will offer a $5,000 sign on bonus to certified police officers looking to join their team.
Van Meter stated that the department is looking for two new deputies between the ages of 18 and 45. Applicants must also hold either a high school diploma or GED.
New officers will start out making between $36,000 and $38,000 a year, not including overtime and contract work. Some of the benefits include retirement, sick and vacation leave, a take-home car and free gym access.
Van Meter said his biggest requirement is passion towards law enforcement.
"You got to want it," Van Meter said. "Police work is not easy."
The hiring process consists of a physical and written test, a background check and an interview process.
Both the Beckley Police Department and the Raleigh County Sheriff's Office are looking to combat staffing issues by offering sign on bonuses. Beckley Common Council unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday night authorizing the Beckley PD to offer sign on bonuses up to $5,000 to certified officers.
Chief Lonnie Christian recommended the resolution to Council. Beckley attorney Bill File said the move was necessary because the hiring process for qualified officers has become highly competitive, not just in southern West Virginia but across the country.
Van Meter said recent media coverage of law enforcement may deter some applicants, but he urges potential deputies to not let this discourage them.
"You have to have thick skin and that's in any job, but especially if you want to be a police officer," Van Meter said.
Those interested in applying must submit their applications to the Raleigh County Clerk's Office by Feb. 7.
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