BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — They are the first you call in an emergency and often first on scene, but fewer and fewer people are up for the task of being a law enforcement officer.
Raleigh County Sheriff Scott Van Meter said multiple agencies are struggling with the same problem.
“Having some difficulties getting qualified individuals, men and women, who want to be police officers, who want to be a police officer a career,” said Van Meter.
This year, the Raleigh County Sheriff’s Department took applications to fill four spots. Out of more than 50 applicants, only one person was hired. Thirty four people took the physical test, but only 27 passed it. Twenty of those applicants then took the written exam and only 15 passed. Others left for different reasons, which left them with only one person qualified for the position.
Van Meter said he believes people may see the job as too demanding.
“We have guys that are out working whether it’s the holiday, night or day, they’re out working. We are out 24/7. And some people don’t want that type of work schedule,” Van Meter explained.
But current deputy Christine Schack said the job is extremely rewarding.
“I’m really blessed to go out and make a difference in the community and be there for people. When they call 911, it’s because they need something. And I’m there for them and all the guys and girls are there for them as well,” said Schack.
Now, Van Meter said they head back to the drawing board to find three new deputies who are up for the challenge.
“It’s very rewarding if that’s what you want to do, but you got to want to do it. So, if you come in and really want to do it, you need to be in shape and be ready to get through our process,” said Van Meter.
“It’s just something that I think you feel on the inside. It’s something that you want to go out and make a difference in the community,” said Schack.
The Sheriff’s Department will release more applications next month to hire the three deputies.