Fayette County is beginning the process of hiring five new deputies, Sheriff Steve Kessler announced last week. The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office is currently accepting applications from candidates interested in a career in the field of law enforcement.

“We are looking to fill at least five vacant positions over the next few months,” Kessler said in a press release.

“Applications are available at the main Sheriff’s Office in Fayetteville, at our satellite detachments in Danese and Smithers and through the office of the Fayette County Clerk. Applications must be received in the Fayette County Clerk’s Office no later than Aug. 29. The written examination for this position will be on Sept. 6 at 6 p.m. at Fayetteville High School in Fayetteville. Only those applicants posting a passing score on this written examination will be invited to further participate in the hiring process.”

Applicants must be at least 18 years old at the time of their initial application and must have, or be able to obtain, a valid West Virginia driver’s license. All applicants must have a high school diploma or GED certificate. Preference is given to individuals currently certified as police officers in the State of West Virginia and veterans of the United States Armed Forces.

All applicants who successfully complete the written examination will be required to successfully complete a physical agility test consisting of push-ups, sit-ups and a timed run. Applicants making it through this phase of testing will be subjected to a comprehensive background investigation, credit check, oral interview, medical screening, psychological screening and drug screening.

“Those applicants who successfully complete the entire testing process stand an excellent chance of being offered employment with the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office,” Kessler said.

“We don’t offer the highest pay in the area; we can’t compete with the State Police or the Raleigh or Kanawha County Sheriff’s offices — but we do offer a good starting salary and benefit package,” he said.

“The starting base pay for a deputy sheriff is $28,900. Deputy sheriffs will receive a pay raise of $100 per month following successful completion of their probationary year, as well as a longevity pay raise of $20 per month each year thereafter. It depends, of course, on the economy, but we generally receive a pay raise every other year.”

Concerning the fringe benefits afforded to Fayette County deputy sheriff, Kessler said, “We provide all items of equipment and uniforms necessary to newly-hired deputy sheriffs. All deputy sheriffs are issued a take-home patrol vehicle. Health, vision and dental insurance are available for deputy sheriffs and their families at very low premiums and low-cost term life insurance is available as well. We participate in the West Virginia Deputy Sheriff’s Retirement System that allows deputy sheriffs with at least 20 years of service to retire at age 50. That’s a young-enough age for someone to pursue a second career or just enjoy life while they are still young enough to fully appreciate it.”

Deputy sheriffs have the opportunity to compete for a wide range of specialized assignments within the Sheriff’s Office, Kessler pointed out.

“We have several officers assigned to our tactical team,” he said. “We have deputy sheriffs assigned to our Detective Bureau, as well as our Drug Unit, six K-9 officer positions, School Resource Officers, officers assigned to teach the anti-drug and violence STARS program, a fire and arson investigation unit, special ATV patrols, traffic enforcement details, court bailiffs, civil process and warrant service and several deputy sheriffs are also deputized as Deputy U.S. Marshals for service with the Southern West Virginia fugitive apprehension task force.

“We provide service to the citizens of Fayette County 24 hours per day, so officers may be assigned to day, evening or midnight shifts. For those deputy sheriffs with second jobs, child care obligations or who might be attending higher education classes, we try to offer flexible scheduling — we try to be as family-friendly as possible. With our wide range of job assignments, we have a position for just about any interest in the law enforcement profession.”

“The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office is an equal-opportunity employer, and we are actively soliciting applications from women, Hispanics, African-Americans and other minorities.

“It is not our practice to hire just anyone who applies,” he added. “We have a very competitive hiring process and make it a practice to hire only the best-qualified applicants. It is an honor that must be earned. If you have the desire to serve the public and want to pursue a career in law enforcement, and you think you have what it takes to be a Fayette County deputy sheriff, then I urge you to submit an application. If you earn the right to wear our badge, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you are one of the elite few to ever earn the right to call yourself a Fayette County deputy sheriff.”

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