CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Later this month, the Clarksburg Police Department will hold another physical ability test at Robert C. Byrd High School in hopes to hire new officers to the staff.
The CPD recently held a test at RCB just last week. The next will be 10 a.m. on Sept. 22.
“We had 12 candidates that showed up for the testing, and out of those 12, six successfully passed the physical ability test and will move onto the written test,” Clarksburg Police Chief Robbie Hilliard said.
The next written exam will be 6 p.m. Sept. 26 at the Harrison County Senior Center.
“Those who pass the written test will move on,” Hilliard said. “Their names will be given to the detective division, which will start the background process. The detectives will be doing the follow up on the background and bring that candidate in and have a sit down with them.”
Hilliard said the final steps then include a polygraph and a psychological exam.
The department, which is currently staffed at 46 officers, has recently upped its staffing, Hilliard said.
“We were staffed for 48, and we brought that back down to 46,” he said. “With the issues and the more calls for service that we’re having, we’re going to up that up to 48, possibly, number of officers in the department.”
Hilliard said they’ve been overwhelmed with calls for welfare checks and suspicious persons throughout not only the city of Clarksburg but Harrison County as a whole.
“It’s tough as far as calls for service,” he said. “When the citizens are calling in for a police officer, we’ve got to respond. It doesn’t matter how understaffed we are, we’ve still got to answer those calls for service.”
His hope is to add nearly 10 new officers to staffing to help fill the increasing need.
“At this point we’re looking to fill anywhere from eight to nine,” Hilliard said. “The city manager and I have discussed that we want to try to over-staff to allow for retirements and other situations.”
Aside from completing the various tests, basic requirements for application include a high school diploma or GED, and the applicant must be between the ages of 18 and 40.
“Certainly we’d like to have somebody that’s had prior law enforcement. We offer a $5,000 sign on bonus for any certified law enforcement, which I think is some help,” Deputy Chief Jason Snider said. “We want them to be well-rounded and be able to complete all the requirements that are required through the West Virginia State Police Academy and be able to attend that. So they need to be physically and mentally ready to do this job.”
Snider recommends dressing comfortable for running when attending the physical exam.
“It requires upper body strength. They’ve got to be able to do all those duties pretty quickly — 27 push-ups within a minute,” he said. “They must also be able to do 29 bent leg sit-ups within a minute, and be able to complete the mile and a half run in 14 minutes 52 seconds.”
Both Hilliard and Snider agree it takes a special kind of person to want to do this type of work.
“You have to want to give back to your community and serve. It’s just something that’s in your blood. You really want to have to do this and just move forward with it,” Hilliard said. “I know myself and other officers that have been here for awhile just wanted to serve the community.”
Snider added: “You’re not doing it to get rich by any standard, but it is a very demanding job and it takes a certain kind of person to do this job.”