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Morgantown hopes to expedite hiring course of for law enforcement officials

MORGANTOWN — The town of Morgantown is searching for methods to work with town’s police civil service fee to expedite the hiring course of for law enforcement officials.  

Among the many metropolis’s solutions, condense the civil service fee course of and shift a number of the analysis accountability from the fee to the police chief and/or metropolis supervisor.   

It’s been effectively reported that the MPD is going through a critical staffing shortfall, with some 21 unfilled officer positions. 

However filling these openings isn’t any small feat. 

Beneath West Virginia Code, town is required to have a three-member police civil service fee tasked with setting procedures for hiring, promotion and different vital features throughout the police division. 

Within the present hiring course of, a candidate should fulfill the fee by various examinations and evaluations earlier than being offered to the appointing officer (metropolis supervisor) as eligible for rent.   

These preliminary steps embrace a written examination, a bodily agility check, an oral examination and a polygraph examination. 

These steps, plus background checks and psychological evaluations, precede precise police academy coaching within the case of recent officers.

“We did counsel the fee take into account some adjustments the place many components apart from the written examination and bodily agility check could be evaluated by the fee and supplied together with the eligibles checklist to the appointing officer, however not be one thing that disqualifies somebody from being eligible for rent,” Metropolis Legal professional Ryan Simonton mentioned.    

Simonton mentioned the purpose is to easily shorten the method because it’s widespread to lose candidates alongside the way in which to different employers or waning curiosity. 

Councilor Danielle Trumble defined she would favor judgment calls be made by the police chief and metropolis supervisor when, as an example, a minor problem from years again pops up on a background verify. 

“Now we’re leaving them within the arms of the civil service fee whereas we’re down 20 officers and struggling for candidates,” she mentioned. “I don’t know. Appears to me like that needs to be not less than partially determined by town, town supervisor, the police chief if that individual is definitely eligible or not.”  

The fee did make some concession in the newest replace to its guidelines and laws by eradicating the “go/fail” willpower for oral examinations and permitting that to easily be utilized by town supervisor when selecting from eligible candidates. 

The updates additionally specify 70% is the required passing rating for the written examination. It was defined that was historically already the mark, it simply wasn’t spelled out.  

Past official rule adjustments, Metropolis Supervisor Kim Haws mentioned he’d wish to see efforts made to easily get issues achieved quicker. 

“We’re making an attempt to assist the fee possibly bundle a few of these necessities. In different phrases, reasonably than making them sequential, making them so … you are available, you’re going to get polygraphed and do the bodily agility — not anticipate one to be accomplished earlier than you progress to the opposite,” he mentioned.  

“So, we acknowledge, and we’ve acknowledged for some time the cumbersome nature of the method. And but, due to civil service legal guidelines, town has little management over a few of these processes.” 

In response to state legislation, civil service commissions are to be comprised of 1 appointee by the mayor/metropolis supervisor; one appointee from the fraternal order of police; and one appointee from the chamber of commerce. Not more than two commissioners could also be registered members of the identical celebration. 

In response to town’s web site, the Morgantown Police Civil Service Fee contains Jerry Summers (R – chamber of commerce); Kevin Clark (Ind. – FOP). The town supervisor appointment is vacant. 

As of Oct. 2, town had 25 candidates for its Oct. 28 entry stage testing.