SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Division of Natural Resources is looking for its next class of Natural Resources Police Officers.
“We’re hoping to get this class started in August,” said Lt. Colonel Dave Trader of the DNR’s law enforcement section. “We don’t have a total umber yet, but walk ins are welcome. We’re hoping to get anywhere from 20 to 50, but if there’s more than that we’ll be happy to look at them.”
The agency is cleared to hire up to six new officers in the current class. There are some minimal requirements to qualify for the training. An applicant must be able to complete 28 sit-ups in a minute and 18 push-ups in a minute. It’s noted those need to be in “proper form.” The physical requirements also call for the applicant to be able to run a mile and a half in less than 14 minutes and 36 seconds. Finally, you need to be able to swim 37.5 yards fully clothed. Testing for the physical fitness requirements will happen at the South Charleston Community Center May 17 and 18.
Trader noted beyond the physical requirements are some educational qualifications as well.
“Graduation from an accredited four year college or university where preference is given to majors in natural science, law enforcement criminology, or criminal justice,” said Trader. “But we have substitutions if you’re a certified West Virginia law enforcement officer for four years or if you have an associates degree plus two years of military police service or two years of continuous deployment as a certified law enforcement officer. So we do have some substitutions for practical experience.”
The job’s pay will start in the neighborhood of $40,000, with raises after completion of training and after the first two years of work. Trader added longevity pay comes into effect and is used to encourage officers to continue to further their careers with the agency.
West Virginia Natural Resources Police, although employed by the DNR and tasked with enforcing game and fish regulations, are fully certified West Virginia police officers with the same law enforcement power as state troopers.
“It’s a great law enforcement job, particularly if you like to set your own hours and you’re self motivated and like to work without direction,” Trader said. “That’s the type of people we’re looking for.”
Officers will be fully trained on how to handle themselves and handle the job, but Trader noted there is a lot of work where you’ll be alone and backup won’t be available very quickly. You’ll almost always encounter individuals who are armed, though their intent may not always be clear.
“You’re responsible for a geographic area and in that 24 hour time period, you’re expected to pick a place or the activity and patrol it,” he said. “You may be up early listening for turkey hunters, but later in the day you’ll be out checking on trout fishermen.”
Trader encouraged anyone with a passion for law enforcement and the outdoors to get involved, but noted you probably won’t get to hunt opening day like you’ve always enjoyed.
“There’s still time to enjoy that, you gets days off and vacation to hunt and fish,” he laughed. “But you probably won’t get to be out there at the peak times like you’ve always done before.”