BUCKHANNON – Buckhannon-Upshur High School’s Prevention Resource Officer will be leaving his post in December.
Upshur County Sheriff David Coffman said PRO Officer Cpl. Rocky Hebb’s last day will be Dec. 7, and he already has someone in mind for the vacant position.
“I can’t just send anybody up there,” Coffman said. “They have to have a minimum of one-year experience and be certified as a police officer.”
Coffman noted there are currently two PRO officer positions open with Cpl. C.J. Day previously leaving the middle school and Rocky Hebb now departing from the high school. Hebb will be joining the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources as an officer in Pocahontas County.
“What I’ve done is started at the top of the seniority and gone down, giving the people who have been here the longest the opportunity to tell me if they want to go or not,” Coffman said. “I’ve worked hard at this for the past couple months, and we’re in a position right now to say effective Nov. 18, Cpl. Rodney Rolenson is going to the middle school to be the PRO officer.”
He said Cpl. Dewaine Linger will likely take over as the PRO officer for high school mid-December; however, the moves won’t be official until the commission approves them at its Nov. 14 meeting.
With those moves, the department will be looking to hire a new officer to fill out their ranks. Coffman said whenever the sheriff’s department receives an open position it falls under civil service, so the department must generate a roster of names and to do that they accept applications.
“For the people that want to become police officer, they’re called to do a physical agility test, they have to run, jump different things and if they pass that portion of the test, then they get the opportunity to move forward to take the written civil service examination,” Coffman said. “Then they have to successfully pass that with a grade of 70 or above.”
He said once they pass those two phases, their name is added to the roster of possible hires.
“What happens is every county has a local Civil Service Commission, so anytime we have an opening, I’ll reach out to our Civil Service Commission and ask for the top three names off of that list,” Coffman said. “That gives me an opportunity to look at the three names and do background checks and interviews and see if these people are maybe a good fit for the office.”
He said after new officers are sworn in and gain some experience, they attend the state police academy for 16 weeks.