BERKELEY COUNTY, W.Va. (WDVM) — With promising guaranteed pay raises, West Virginia Corrections is stepping up recruiting efforts for the Potomac Highland Regional Jail, Vicki Douglas Juvenile Center, and Eastern Regional Jail.
Sergeant Nicholas Winalski is a former correctional officer at Eastern Regional Jail. Now as a sergeant, he knows how perseverance and grit pushed him to rise through the ranks.
Some of the challenges he faced were “learning to deal with all the personalities, whether with your fellow officers or with the inmate population.”
Thanks to a series of pay raises, authorities say the starting salary for correctional officers is $28,664, which could rise to $30,664 on July 1, 2020.
Winalksi among others at the Martinsburg Workforce West Virginia office are trying to keep the momentum going, leading with the first job fair for dedicated candidates.
“If they come out to our workforce centers in many of our different regions, they can get hired that day,” Winalski said.
Deputy Superintendent Scott Paugh says the turnover rate has slowed remarkably since the raises went in effect. But he says the need for correctional officers to maintain the safety and control of the facilities, the safety of the inmates, the staff and the community continues to grow by the day.
“That we exist, we are here. We are serving,” said Winalski. “We are not in the limelight as other law enforcement, but we are there.”
Hiring officials say qualifications for a correctional officer include a high school diploma, valid driver’s license, and a physical agility test including a drug screening.