All competitive examinations for appointments or promotions to all positions of correctional officer shall be practical in their character, and shall relate to such matters, and include such inquiries, as will fairly and fully test the comparative merit and fitness of the person or persons examined to discharge the duties of the position sought by or them. The state civil service commission shall prepare and prescribe, from time to time, the competitive examination to be given by the civil service commission of each such county. All competitive examinations shall be open to all applicants who have fulfilled the preliminary requirements specified in other sections of this article.
Adequate public notice of the date, time and place of every competitive examination held under the provisions of this article, together with information as to the position to be filled, shall be given at least two weeks prior to such competitive examination. The civil service commission in each county shall adopt reasonable rules and regulations for permitting the presence of representatives of the press at any such competitive examinations. Such commission shall post, in a public place at its office, the eligible list, containing the names and grades of those who have passed such competitive examinations for positions as correctional officer, under this article, and shall indicate thereon such appointments as may be made from said list.
All applicants for appointment or promotion to any position as a correctional officer in any such county who have passed the competitive examination specified above shall, before being appointed or promoted, undergo a medical examination which shall be conducted under the supervision of a board composed of two doctors of medicine appointed for such purpose by the sheriff of the county. Such board must certify that an applicant is free from any bodily or mental defects, deformity or diseases which might incapacitate from the performance of the duties of the position desired and is physically fit to perform such duties before said applicant shall be appointed or promoted to any position. Notwithstanding the first sentence of this paragraph, in the event the commission deems it expedient, the medical examination may be given prior to the competitive examination, and if the medical examination is not passed as aforesaid, the applicant shall not be admitted to the competitive examination.
All correctional officers who are employed as correctional officers on the effective date of this article, shall be considered to have been appointed under the provisions of this article without regard to their age, and without competitive examination or medical examination, and shall hold their positions in accordance therewith for one year from the effective date of this article. The civil service commission shall, however, establish or prescribe a training program for correctional officers who are employed as such on the effective date of this article, giving due consideration to available training personnel and programs. Such correctional officers shall complete a two-hundred-hour basic correctional officer's training course as certified by the West Virginia department of corrections within a twelve-month period following appointment.
However, persons who have (1) completed a basic correctional officers training course or equivalent within the past three years prior to appointment or (2) who have been employed as a correctional officer in a jail for three years out of the last five years prior to appointment may be certified as correctional officers without basic training if in the judgment of the commission such persons are otherwise qualified. A correctional officer failing to qualify under the provisions of this paragraph may be continued in his position at the discretion of the sheriff but in no event for a period of more than one year. Such person may be reexamined at the discretion of the civil service commission of the county and may qualify as provided in this paragraph.