PARKERSBURG - Officials with the Wood County Sheriff's Office welcomed a holding center officer with the highest grade point average of a graduate of the West Virginia Regional Jail Academy.
Desiree Carpenter is a new officer in the Wood County Sheriff's Office Holding Center.
Carpenter graduated from the academy in Glenville on Oct. 19. Officials said Carpenter was the academy's 105th graduating class valedictorian with a 99.6 GPA.
Recently hired holding center officer with the Wood County Sheriff’s Office, Desiree Carpenter, left, is welcomed to the Wood County Sheriff’s Office by director of confinement operations Steve Stephens at the academy in Glenville.
Carpenter's GPA was the highest in the history of the academy.
Carpenter of Parkersburg said she was looking for an opportunity to advance in her career when she decided to attend the academy for training.
"I've always wanted to be in law enforcement," she said. "Since I was a little girl."
- The Wood County Sheriff's Office said a recent graduate received the highest grade point average in the history of the West Virginia Corrections Academy.
- The academy has been in existence since 1982.
- Desiree Carpenter graduated the academy with a 99.6 GPA.
Carpenter said she was previously working as a secretary when she made the decision to change her career path. Carpenter will have been with the sheriff's office for a year in November.
"I love it," she said of her new job. "I can see me being here for a long time; it's the most satisfying job I've ever had."
"There are a lot of good people (at the sheriff's office)," she said. "It really makes it worthwhile."
Director of county confinement operations Steve Stephens said Carpenter was hired as a holding center officer with hopes to become a deputy. The sheriff's office has had three other officers graduate from the academy as valedictorian in the last 3.5 years, he said.
"We (the sheriff's office) are very proud of her," he said.
Stephens said all corrections officers go through the regional jail training; the holding center officers get the same training as any officer with the regional jail.
The West Virginia Corrections Academy provides a four-phase training program for sworn and civilian correction officers, officials said. Initially, all training for correctional officers was conducted at the West Virginia State Police Academy.
In 1982, then commissioner of corrections, W. Joseph McCoy, recognized the need for positive changes in the division's organizational culture and line operations, officials said. One of the actions taken was the creation of the West Virginia Corrections Academy.
In December 2009, the regional jail academy was relocated to Glenville, home to the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety Professional Development Center.
The academy is a separate unit within the division of corrections.
The academy works to instill personal discipline, strict adherence to the chain of command, the concept of teamwork and compliance with rules and regulations, officials said. Trainees are required to be in training eight hours a day, perform work details, stand inspections, participate in fitness training and are subject to curfew.