(a) An employee of the Secretary of State, who has attended a course of instruction at the State Police Academy or its equivalent, has all the lawful powers delegated to members of the state police to enforce the provisions of this chapter and the criminal laws of the state in any county or municipality of this state. The Secretary of State may allow an investigator who has met the standards set forth in section four, article seven, chapter sixty-one of this code to carry a firearm and concealed weapon while performing their official duties: Provided, That as a precondition of being authorized to carry a firearm or concealed weapon in the course of their official duties, any such designated personnel must obtain and maintain firearms training and certification which is equivalent to that which is required of members of the state police. The designated persons must also possess a license to carry a concealed deadly weapon in the manner prescribed in article seven, chapter sixty-one of this code, or otherwise be exempted from the code's provisions.
(b) Before entering upon the discharge of his or her duties, an employee shall execute a bond with security in the sum of $3,500, payable to the State of West Virginia, conditioned for the faithful performance of his or her duties. The bond shall be approved as to form by the Attorney General and filed with the Secretary of State and preserved in his or her office. The State Police and a county sheriff or deputy sheriff or a municipal police officer, upon request by the Secretary of State or his or her appointee, is authorized to assist the Secretary of State or his or her appointee in enforcing the provisions of this chapter and the criminal laws of the state.