City police looking for modest 'heroes'
HUNTINGTON -- The Huntington Police Department's recruiting campaign, "Be the Hero," sums up the agency's goals in finding its newest members.
Calling it a job that requires honesty, integrity, self-motivation and personal pride, training coordinator Cpl. Mike Chornobay said the department is looking for someone "who wants to be a hero, but doesn't want to be told they are."
"It's something we joke about as policemen," Chornobay said. "We're usually pretty humble and don't want to hear about what we've done on the news or read it in the newspaper and that's the kind of guys we want. Guys who want to be someone's hero, but don't need to hear it."
In the November election, city voters authorized a charter change to end a requirement that city employees live in the city, and Chornobay hopes that means more applicants will clear the screening process than in prior years. Applications are being accepted through April 12 as the department seeks to replace a few officers lost to retirement, bringing the full staff number back to 106 plus the police chief.
"We're hoping now that they removed the residency requirement, that'll really open the door for us. We have lost applicants in the past during the background phase because of that," he said. "I understand the reasons for wanting people who work for the city to live in the city for commerce and that, but there's always a safety concern for officers and their families who may not want to live where they work. Everybody knows when there's a police officer on their street."
The specifications of the application process are available in full at www.hpdrecruit.com. Starting at a base salary of approximately $35,000, potential candidates have the capability of earning paid overtime, shift differentials, longevity pay and more. Benefits range from holidays and vacation days to medical, vision and prescription benefits.
Applicants must be citizens of the United States between the ages of 18 and 40 who have earned a high school diploma or GED equivalent. They must undergo a series of physical and agility tests as well as background, polygraph, psychological and written examinations. The physical ability test will be conducted on April 27, followed by the written examination on May 9. Chornobay said once background screenings and interviews are completed, he hopes to have a group of candidates ready to enter the West Virginia State Police Academy's basic 15-week class in August.
"How many we're looking to hire is however many the city will allow us to," said Chornobay, noting that the department will likely add three to four new officers in the next few months.
For Chornobay, a 14-year veteran of law enforcement, nothing compares to the career he said is all he's done or ever wanted to do.
"There's obviously a sacrifice and some safety concerns, and you work a lot of hours and it can take a toll on your family, but when all is said and done, nothing is more rewarding," he said.
An application can be downloaded online at the HPD recruiting website, www.hpdrecruit.com. For more information, call 304-696-5560.
Follow H-D reporter Beth Hendricks on Facebook or Twitter @BethHendricksHD.