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Career and Education Opportunities for Police Records Officers in Charleston, West Virginia

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for police records officers in the Charleston, West Virginia area. Currently, 310 people work as police records officers in West Virginia. This is expected to grow 22% to 380 people by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for police records officers are expected to grow by about 16.6%. In general, police records officers collect evidence at crime scenes, classify and identify fingerprints, and photograph evidence for use in criminal and civil cases.

Police records officers earn approximately $17 hourly or $36,630 yearly on average in West Virginia. Nationally they average about $29 hourly or $60,910 per year. Compared with people working in the overall category of Police and Security, people working as police records officers in West Virginia earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Police and Security nationally. Jobs in this field include: field identification specialist, police photographer, and police detective.

There are seventeen schools of higher education in the Charleston area, including one within twenty-five miles of Charleston where you can get a degree to start your career as a police records officer. Given that the most common education level for police records officers is a high school diploma or GED, you can expect to spend only a short time studying to be a police records officer if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Police Records Officer

In general, police records officers collect evidence at crime scenes, classify and identify fingerprints, and photograph evidence for use in criminal and civil cases.

Police records officers testify in court and present evidence. They also package, store and retrieve evidence. Equally important, police records officers have to dust selected areas of crime scene and lift latent fingerprints, adhering to proper preservation procedures. They are often called upon to photograph crime or accident scenes for evidence records. They are expected to look for trace evidence, such as fingerprints or shoe impressions, using alternative light sources when needed. Finally, police records officers submit evidence to supervisors.

Every day, police records officers are expected to be able to see details at a very fine level of focus. They need to solve different sorts of problems in different ways depending upon circumstances. It is also important that they piece together evidence to, in some sense, diagnose what is going on in a situation.

It is important for police records officers to serve as technical advisor and direct with other law enforcement staff to share data on crime scene collection efforts. They are often called upon to perform emergency work during off-hours. They also identify and file fingerprints, using systems such as the Henry Classification system. Somewhat less frequently, police records officers are also expected to process film and prints from crime or accident scenes.

And finally, they sometimes have to process film and prints from crime or accident scenes.

Like many other jobs, police records officers must have exceptional integrity and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Charleston include:

  • Chief of Police. Supervise and coordinate activities of members of police force.
  • Criminal Investigator. Investigate alleged or suspected criminal violations of Federal, state, or local laws to determine if evidence is sufficient to recommend prosecution.
  • Customs Inspector. Investigate and inspect persons, common carriers, and merchandise, arriving in or departing from the United States or between states to detect violations of immigration and customs laws and regulations.
  • Police Officer. Conduct investigations to prevent crimes or solve criminal cases.
  • Policeman. Patrol assigned areas to enforce laws and ordinances, regulate traffic, and arrest violators.
  • Private Investigator. Detect occurrences of unlawful acts or infractions of rules in private establishment, or seek, examine, and compile information for client.
  • Sheriff. Enforce law and order in rural or unincorporated districts or serve legal processes of courts. May patrol courthouse, guard court or grand jury, or escort defendants.
  • Transportation Security Officer. Inspect baggage or cargo and screen passengers to detect and prevent potentially dangerous objects from being transported into secure areas or onto aircraft.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Police Records Officer Training

West Virginia State Community and Technical College - Institute, WV

West Virginia State Community and Technical College, 103 Cole Complex, Institute, WV 25112-1000. West Virginia State Community and Technical College is a small college located in Institute, West Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 1,741 students. West Virginia State Community and Technical College has an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated sixteen students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Medical Investigator: The spectrum of professions involved in forensic investigation has broadened dramatically over the past 20 years.

For more information, see the American College of Forensic Examiners website.

Certified Corrections Manager - Security Threat Groups: Individuals who head a Security Threat Group (STG) program in an adult or juvenile corrections facility, contribute to the development of agency policies/procedures pertaining to STGs, and are involved in the implementation of these policies/procedures.

For more information, see the American Correctional Association website.

Certified Fraud Examiner: The ACFE established and administers the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) designation.

For more information, see the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners website.

Computer Forensics: The primary goals we have for our certification programs are to both assist law enforcement and organizations requiring highly skilled investigators in the identification of highly skilled individuals, and to promote the training and education efforts within the computer investigation, computer forensic and computer security industries.

For more information, see the Cyber Enforcement Resources Incorporated website.

Certified Cyber-Crime Expert: High-profile cases of corporate malfeasance and increased attention paid to cybercrime and cyberterrorism have elevated electronic evidence discovery to an indispensable component of any organization's security plan.

For more information, see the E-Business Process Solutions website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Charleston, West Virginia

Charleston, West Virginia
Charleston, West Virginia photo by Malepheasant

Charleston is situated in Kanawha County, West Virginia. It has a population of over 50,302, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Charleston, 84, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Charleston are priced at $268,400 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, thirty-four new homes were constructed in Charleston, up from twenty-seven the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Charleston are health care, educational services, and public administration. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, health care, and public administration. The average travel time to work is about 16 minutes. More than 32.6% of Charleston residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 15.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Charleston is 7.7%, which is the same as West Virginia's average of 7.7%. About 16.7% of Charleston's residents are below the poverty line, which is better than the state average.

The percentage of Charleston residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 34.5%, is less than both the national and state average. Starcher Baptist Church, Southeast Church of the Nazarene and South Ruffner Presbyterian Church are among the churches located in Charleston. The largest religious groups are the American Baptist Churches in the USA, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Charleston is home to the John F Kennedy Center and the Kanawha County Courthouse as well as Watt Powell Stadium and Ruffner Memorial Park. Shopping centers in the area include Patrick Street Plaza Shopping Center, Laidley Court Shopping Center and Plaza East Shopping Center. Visitors to Charleston can choose from Days Inn Charleston East WV, Motel 6 and Fairfield Inn Charleston for temporary stays in the area.