Civil Service Hiring

Police and Fire Department Civil Service Hiring
The City of Elkins operates “civil service” fire and police departments. This means that initial screening of candidates for either department is performed by either the Police or Firefighters Civil Service Commission, with the administrative support of the city clerk, who is also the clerk of each civil service commission. The result of that screening process is a list of candidates eligible for entry-level promotion, often referred to as the “eligibles list.”

Anyone wishing to join either department must first achieve placement on the appropriate “eligibles list.” Under West Virginia Code, there is currently no option for cities to hire police or firefighters at anything other than the entry level, even if the candidate in question is already serving at another West Virginia department. Police applicants must be 18-45 years old on the day of the written exam; fire department applicants must be 18-35.

Steps in the Civil Service Hiring Process
The list below outlines the basic steps of the civil service hiring process. This list is offered for informational purposes only; legislative and administrative changes may result in a different order to or modification of some steps.

  • City announces a new test date (tests consist of a written exam, physical fitness testing, and interviews by the three members of the appropriate civil service commission). These announcements are made via newspaper advertisements as well as the city’s informational email list (sign up using form in left sidebar of any page on this website) and Facebook page.
  • Applicants obtain application packets from the city clerk and return their application forms prior to the first test. It is wise to begin training for the physical fitness test as early as possible, because many candidates fail it. Click here to obtain the latest physical fitness testing requirements for police officers. Click here for the fire department’s physical fitness testing standards.
  • Applicants complete the testing requirements.
  • Written exam scores, interview scores, and various adjustments are used to generate a score for each applicant.
  • Applicants are ranked by score on the new eligibles list, which is then published and provided to the relevant department (i.e., police or fire). This concludes the civil service commission’s role in the hiring process.
  • When the department has an opening to fill, it evaluates the top candidates (for police: medical and psychological testing, polygraph, background check, and interview with the chief; for fire: medical and psychological testing, background check, and interview with the chief). Applicants who make it through all of these steps are then offered employment.
  • Lists are good for three years or until all candidates have been either offered employment or rejected by the relevant department.
  • Low placement on the list does not necessarily mean you will not be hired. The police department’s hiring process in particular often eliminates many candidates (usually because of the polygraph test).

Throughout this process, the most important thing is patience: between placing on the list and being offered employment, a year or two–or more–might elapse. Public safety professions are a calling, not a job–if you feel truly called to serve, be patient and do not give up, and we look forward to swearing you in!

For more information, contact:
Jessica R. Sutton, Elkins City Clerk
jsutton@cityofelkinswv.com
Phone: (304) 636-1414, ext. 1211
401 Davis Avenue, Elkins, WV, 26241