All affairs pertaining to law and order in West Virginia are overseen by the state’s 55 elected sheriffs. They are provided technical, financial and administrative support by the West Virginia Sheriffs’ Association. If you happen to have aspirations of becoming a sheriff in the Mountain State, here are all the things that you need to do

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West Virginia Eligibility Conditions to Become a Sheriff

The following conditions must be fulfilled if you want to become a sheriff in West Virginia:

  • Have to be at least 18 years old.
  • Must have obtained a high school diploma. If not, the equivalent GED (General Educational Development) certificate will suffice as well.
  • Have to be a legal citizen of the USA. This includes both naturalized Americans and individuals born here.
  • Fulfill all sheriff residency conditions stipulated by the county in which you want to become sheriff.

*This is to clarify that the requirements listed above generally apply to the whole of West Virginia. However, counties may have their own additional eligibility criteria which may have some variations. So, you must always check the specific requirements outlined by a particular county if you want to contest elections there for the sheriff’s office.

Procedure to Follow to Become a Sheriff in West Virginia

Below is the procedure to be followed to become a sheriff in West Virginia.

Step 1:

Enroll into a police academy for law enforcement training. See if your chosen county has any exclusive sheriff training programs. In such a case, you might not need to complete a police academy training course separately.

Step 2:

Serve as a law enforcement officer for some time after completing your police training. This is to fulfill the minimum work experience requirement outlined by your county of choice. It could be more than 5 years or just 1 year or anything in between.

Step 3:

Pursue higher studies if possible. This is not a strictly binding condition but having better educational qualifications will surely make you a better candidate for the sheriff’s office.

Step 4:

Clear the initial screening by qualifying the written examination, interview, physical test and background investigation.

Step 5:

Submit your candidacy documents to enter the balloting for county sheriff.

Step 6:

Run your election campaign to convince voters you will be the right choice.

Step 7:

Win the elections to become a sheriff in one of West Virginia’s counties.

West Virginia Sheriff Timeline

It can take you around 1 to 8 years to become sheriff. This will depend in large part on the work experience requirements of your preferred county and the time taken to acquire police training.

How Much Money Does a Sheriff Make in West Virginia?

West Virginia paid its First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives $66,840 in annual mean wage (May, 2018). This is according to the published records of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The sheriffs in the state are compensated well considering that they are running a whole department that oversees matters pertaining to law and order in the county.