07-17-2009, 05:06 PM #1
Working as a Probation Officer? Any good?
So because of the massive drought of good cop jobs up here in Alaska, and the need to start pulling in a paycheck (done next spring with my degree and can't leave Alaska for about three more years due to the woman finishing her education), I put in to be a Probation/Parole Officer up here. Few guys at the University PD I work at all have recommended it. However, I know very little what it's like working as a Parole Officer. Anyone done this? Is it even considered a "sworn" position? I know it's armed and it has a six-week academy. Is it any good on the 'ole resume, as I'm looking at moving to the Pacific Northwest to try and land a cop gig? Just looking for a little info in case I get tapped for an interview.
07-17-2009, 05:29 PM #2
I did that job for 2 years and it will greatly help you move into another law enforcement position in the future, you will just have to attend another full academy (I have done 3 now).
The job is very different depending on the state, Nevada, South Carolina, and Oklahoma Probation/Parole are FULL POLICE OFFICERS! There you attend the regular police academy and they have the same arrest powers as their State Police have. Nevada’s is actually a division of their state police and you can move from Probation/Parole to Highway Patrol and back since its all one agency.
Other states, mostly in the north east, Probation/Parole are not even armed and they are more like social workers than cops, most states fall somewhere in the middle. You will do more paperwork than you can imagine possible, you will have to wear many hats and deal long term with offenders you will not like. The up side is its mostly 9-5, weekend and holidays off.Good people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.
07-17-2009, 05:33 PM #3
In California it is a fully sworn position. I like it, but it's not for everybody. You don't deal with somebody for 5 minutes and then move on, you deal with them for 5 years! The great thing is that the clients have basically lost all of their rights, so you don''t have to worry about pesky little things like warrants or probable cause. It's a good career. Here it requires a bachelors degree, and the CORE training is 5 weeks.He who feels punctured must once have been a bubble. --Lao Tzu
07-17-2009, 05:33 PM #4
Yea, from what I've heard up here in Alaska Probation officers hold special arresting authority and are armed. The academies are no problem, I actually like attending that kind of stuff. I have heard it's a ton of paperwork. Is there any correlation between what you do in the Probation side and the LEO side of the house? What skills and attributes make the best officers? Wondering how I should present myself, I've got a lot of experience in community programming/management and networking with social services from my days working in Residence Life at the University.
07-17-2009, 06:13 PM #5
Skills and attributes that make the best officer? You're hybrid and work in the shadows of the court system. Not many people in the public know just how important your role will be to the community and the criminal justice system. You're a hybrid because you're not full law enforcement, you're also half social worker. You will be involved with people from beginning to the end of their conditions of probation until they successfully complete probation - or when they don't...(violations, new charges). You will be doing mostly office work - preparing defendants every month ( you have a caseload) of "X" amount of defendants....you will need to supervise these folks, lots of talky talky....but you will learn to understand people more....You cannot view every defendant as scum. A lot are on different charges, felonies, misd. whatever....
Your job is to make sure and ensure #1 priority - keeping the community safe.
You're supervising criminals, remember that...but, also remember that if you don't give these people who give you respect, none - you will have a hard and difficult career ahead of you. On the other hand, you should never EVER let the defendant believe you to be vulnerable as they will step all over you. Remember who you're dealing with. Don't treat the people you have to supervise for years like dirt, and good chances are if they were arrested again or placed back on probation...guess who gets to supervise this guy once again? You! You will prepare a lot of reports to the court. There are incentives such as early termination to whatever (depending on how Alaska works) not sure with all.....you will prepare the courts with expirations, petition to modify (get used to this), Probation violations, Petitions to revoke, combination reports, pre-sentencing information or we call them PSIs.....the list goes on.
Prepare to be overwhelmed with information with this job, you will never see more acronyms in your lifetime until you step into probation.
Don't let that get to you...after your academy, you really won't know jack crap...because there was soo much information....but when you get the hang of stuff and work with POs who have been there, done that...you'll be swinging like a pro.
Another thing, the biggest thing you may have is flexibility. I make my own hours, I come in whenever I want. I leave whenever I want. I take whatever lunch time I have, I flex to the next week or I shorten the first....the scheduling has got to be the best. Remember though, you have your office visits, field visits, training (always certain amount of training you have to complete every year) and court.
Theres too much to list and I'm writing a novel to you.....now if you think it's all report writing, you're wrong. Search and seizures are pretty cool and you always work with your fellow law enforcement brothers/sisters - in conducting arrests and search and seizures. You run bookings, you run crim.backgrounds, fields, make field arrests etc. etc. Courts not really cool.....Def.attorneys love to grill unprepared POs.
If you have any more questions - just PM me, I'll be more than happy to help out.
Last edited by MCAPO; 07-17-2009 at 06:16 PM.
07-17-2009, 06:28 PM #6
Goddamn, this is why I love these forums. Absolutely fantastic information. Immense amount of help to me, I have much better idea of how to approach the position now. If I do get tapped for an interview with DOC, I'll be PMing you with some questions. This position looks like it is better preparation to be a real cop then I thought. I'm really hoping I get the job now. Looks like it will be a good slot with stuff that I've been doing (academic focus is in behavioral economics).
Thanks for the info and I'd love to hear any other additional thoughts or comments anyone has!
07-17-2009, 07:38 PM #7
Well done, MCAPO! Talon, feel free to PM me if you wish too. I have perspectives from both line staff and Administration.He who feels punctured must once have been a bubble. --Lao Tzu
07-19-2009, 12:46 AM #8
- Join Date
- Dec 2008
07-19-2009, 11:09 AM #9
I suppose it's different in all states. I have had both as witnesses and it's an entirely different job. I don't believe that probation officers are armed. Most that I know don't carry at all.
Parole officers, OTOH, carry and have full arrest powers. It's a much more dangerous job as many of them have to go out and serve warrants for violations of parole. For violations of probation, they get a notice to appear at a VOP hearing and if they don't show up a warrant will issue. But the probation officer themselves do not go out and serve the warrant.
"Jerry, just remember, it’s not a lie if you believe it". George Constanza.
07-19-2009, 05:48 PM #10
In Alaska, I guess they are Peace Officers and work either Parole or Probation. I think my lack of a complete degree will hurt (although by the time the Academy roles around, my degree will be about two classes away from being complete) but hopefully the experience makes up for it. One of the cops I work with was saying to get on with the Felony Warrant team, I guess it's the DOC SWAT-like team that does high-risk warrant serves.
07-19-2009, 06:13 PM #11
- Join Date
- Aug 2007
The other posters have given you all the information that I could. PPO in Iowa are mostly NOT sworn or armed, HOWEVER there is a sworn High Risk Unit in each area of the state that are certified LEO's
The "normal" PPO is a mixture of social worker and correctional officer with a HIGH emphisis on social worker.
The "normal" caseload PPO will do pre sentence investigations and submitt them to the court prior to sentencing as an advisory to the sentencing judge. Then they will supervise offenders that are placed on probation rather than prison...............the PPO will also supervise offenders that are placed on parole after their prison sentence.
EXPECT to see a lot of UA bottles........................and to watch a lot of offienders peeing in them!!!!!!!!!!
But that is Iowa and you are in Alaska....................from the sounds of it the PPO's up there are also true cops......................Trust me you will learn a lot working as a PPO-------------------you might even like it and make a career of it
07-19-2009, 06:25 PM #12
I'm actually having a hard time finding out if POs up here are sworn or not. The cops I work with tell me they are armed and the website says they are full "Peace Officers". I am assuming they have only special arrest authority. The academy is only six-weeks long but it has pepper spray, DT and firearms so I'm guessing they carry like regular cops. The job looks really awesome with regular schedule hours which would be perfect to take the last few class to get my BA, start the Graduate degree and join the National Guard while I wait for the woman to finish her schooling so I can go down to Seattle.
Really appreciate all the PMs and information people have sent. Definitely some fantastic individuals out there! I'll listen to any advice anyone has!
07-19-2009, 08:35 PM #13
- Join Date
- Aug 2007
Alaska 20 yr LEO retirement
Certified by Alaska Police Standards Council (APSC
Sounds like LEO status to me.
Adult Probation/Parole Officer
Are you looking for a challenging yet rewarding career that provides the best of both law enforcement and case management?
Would you enjoy seeing people succeed and making a positive difference in Alaska?
Thinking you would like to put your education and/or experience to work in the criminal justice field?
Is time with your family important to you? Probation/Parole officers have steadier work hours than most all other law enforcement agencies to include holidays.
Want to be in a 20 year law enforcement retirement system? This is the career for you!
Want a job that meets your or your family's expectation for healthcare/insurance? Here it is!
If you can answer yes to the above, then you may have just found your new career and are well on your way! Keep reading ...
Probation and Parole officers in Alaska are certified by the Alaska Police Standards Council (APSC) and have an exciting yet complex job serving both the people of Alaska and those they supervise to promote public safety and offender habilitation.
The primary responsibility of an Adult Probation/Parole Officer is to supervise adult felony offenders under the jurisdiction of the Superior Court for the State of Alaska Board of Parole in accordance with Alaska State Statutes, Titles 12 and 13.
Key responsibilities include:
* Conducting visits and searches. in field, home, and office
* Verifying current compliance with all probation/parole conditions
* Continual evaluation of offender risk in the community of re-offending
* Intervening to prevent, offset, or address an offender's non-compliance
* Evaluating the severity of an offender's violations/non-compliance, reviewing appropriate Policy & Procedure, and determining required action.
* Preparing and filing probation and parole revocations.
* Writing full and updated pre-sentence reports
* Testifying before the Court, Parole Board, and Grand Jury
* Maintaining case files
* Interviewing victims and individuals in the community
* Preparing pre-sentence investigation reports and parole violation reports.
* Using crisis intervention and counseling techniques to assist and direct offenders
We are looking to hire someone with the following demonstrated strengths:
* Excellent case management skills
* A pattern of reliable behaviors on the job
* Excellent team-work and interpersonal skills
* An ability to work effectively and calmly with individuals who are often offensive, upset, hostile, and dangerous
If you possess the characteristics outlined above, we want to hear from you. The Division of Probation and Parole offers a dynamic, team-centered, and professional working environment, along with the following starting benefits:
* On the job training and the opportunity to attend a Probation Officer Academy in Palmer
* Health insurance, which includes employer contributions toward medical/vision/dental
* Optional long and short-term disability plans
* Optional dependent and health care flexible spending accounts
* Retirement programs with a wide variety of investment options
* Vacation leave of 15 hours per month with an accrual rate increase based on time served.
* Bargaining-unit negotiated scheduled raises
* Numerous opportunities for training and promotion
07-19-2009, 08:54 PM #14
Yea, but they get a Probation Officer certificate from APSC, I thought I read somewhere that they are peace officers but I can't find it. Not really sure what the difference is between a peace officer and a police officer. I'm surprised they are actual LEO, the academy is only six-weeks compared to Sitka's 16-weeks of pure hell and information (according to those that have been).I have a million hats.
07-19-2009, 10:46 PM #15
Since you've noted that you want to be a police officer - sure this is a good step if you want to go to working for a police agency or SO - in fact, I've seen it opposite for the most part - ex PD and ex SO who either are retiring or received their 4 year degree wanted to settle down or try something different - it's all good. I've seen a lot of POs go fed though.....
Don't expect to be kicking down doors and chasing after people or whatever. I remember I had a warrant out for someone, was out on the field and saw that person at their last location, (I was going to the same apartment complex to a different defendant's home) and he saw me and ran. I just laughed and called it in, I'm not going to risk anything for a petty PV warrant - from an old drug possession charge - he was apprehended later by warrants.
And let's just say you want to do all law enforcement within probation - for my county in AZ - we have Warrants division or Fugitive Apprehension - they work alongside Federal Marshals a lot and also DPS (department of public safety) task force and other local PD specialized criminal assignments and fugitive task force -
They are also called in for special gang detail - it's very useful to have probation working alongside all other units as it gives them the opportunity to find a subject and realize that if they are on probation/parole - all bets are off....
Don't hold your breath though....most warrants division within probation require the PO hired within to have years of experience first and foremost, and also in a specialized case load such as Domestic Violence, Sex Offenders, Intensive Probation, etc. etc. reason being - more experience and for those field, it's more training to deal with some of the worst of the worst. I wouldn't have it any other way. For me though - it's going to be standard for awhile. I don't think I could spend more time baby sitting adults than what I already do with my standard supervision.....once or twice a month is good enough....but 4 times a week for each, forget about it.
07-20-2009, 11:37 AM #16
[QUOTE=Ex Army MP;1906631]I suppose it's different in all states. I have had both as witnesses and it's an entirely different job. I don't believe that probation officers are armed. Most that I know don't carry at all.QUOTE]
We are armed, though not all California Probation Departments are.He who feels punctured must once have been a bubble. --Lao Tzu
07-20-2009, 07:20 PM #17
- Join Date
- Dec 2006
- NJ (Eagles NJ...Not Giants NJ)
In NJ Parole Officers are cops (arrest powers, carry on/off, police & fire pension, etc), and go to a police academy alongside their municipal counterparts.
Probation Officers are not considered sworn LEOs, and have limited authority, mostly reguarding their caseloads when on duty. They do not carry.
Parole, and Probation are two completely separate entities working for separate branches of Gov't. Both have a vital function in LE, and are excellent resources IMO.
07-21-2009, 12:00 PM #18He who feels punctured must once have been a bubble. --Lao Tzu
07-21-2009, 12:01 PM #19
Well, faxing the office my college transcripts today, they are trying to determine if I meet "minimum qualifications". At least they are looking at my application, I guess...
Also, slots just opened up locally for an Animal Control Officer and a Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officer. Our ACOs are contracted from a major security corporation and certified state peace officers, the CVEO is unarmed and not certified in any way. Opinions on those two jobs? Are they good to work while trying to get a cop gig or should I stay away?I have a million hats.
07-23-2009, 12:41 PM #20
- Join Date
- Mar 2009
- Long Island
Last edited by EldoEsq; 12-14-2015 at 02:41 PM.
07-23-2009, 04:40 PM #21
Down Here in GA we are Sworn, Peace Officer Status, Armed on and Off Duty. and Have arrest authority. We go through an academy, I don't do alot of office work more field work as I work an Intensive Caseload which consists of two officers, I just happen to be the one out running curfew checks, unannounced searches and field visits and surveillance and arrests when need be. All states seem to be different it just depends on where you live. This site actually shows how states differ http://www.appa-net.org/eweb/Resourc...s/NFS_2006.pdf. I think it would be a great stepping stone if wanting to become a Police Officer, it gives you great experience dealing with the same ppl you will deal with on the street.Line is ready. Shooters ready. Attention!
07-23-2009, 07:56 PM #22
What do you guys think about working Animal Control? If this probation gig falls through, should I go for it or stay away?I have a million hats.
07-23-2009, 08:48 PM #23
- Join Date
- Feb 2009
- North East
Bro try to get on with probation, do some time there and then go to Fed Probation. Get into fed before age 37
07-24-2009, 08:15 PM #24
Well, this sucks. My university took so long to get my current transcript together (more then three days) that the probation office moved ahead with testing and skipped me. I am kinda ****ed off because the job posting said transcripts weren't needed until the interview process but the office wanted it faxed to them in a day because they were under such a tight deadline to hire. So I guess I'll just go back to school full-time, ship off to Army Guard basic and then try to get onto an academy fall of '10. Or I could apply for the open Animal Control position but I dunno if that would be good experience or not.I have a million hats.
07-25-2009, 05:55 PM #25
- Join Date
- Mar 2009
- Long Island
3 days for official transcripts is unreasonable, and I doubt even possible!