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Old 10-10-2011, 21:44   #1
efman
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Interested in moving over to probation. have questions.

I have some questions about possibly working probation a little later in my career. I've heard that felony probation officers in my area make almost double what deputy sheriff's do. (I am in georgia) But I don't really know if this is true or not. But better pay and alittle more normal hours sounds nice in a few years.

Has anyone else moved over from local law enforcement to probation, is the pay much better, and do you enjoy it as much.

basically I'd just like to hear some feed back on this idea from some of the senior experinced guys that post on this board. Thanks a lot guys!
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Old 10-10-2011, 22:04   #2
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If it's a State position, find their website and look at the job postings. The pay should be posted, as well as the requirements. They require a four year Degree in my state, and they are picky about the Degrees they accept. Shouldn't be hard to research the benefits as well. That would be an important part of my decision.
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Old 10-10-2011, 22:05   #3
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I can also tell you, in my state, Probation/Parole is not nearly as easy as it once was. It is becoming a pretty dangerous occupation.
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Old 10-10-2011, 22:38   #4
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Questions that I would be asking:

1) Is this a state job or a county job (or something else?)
2) What arrest powers to POs have on duty? Off duty?
3) Does a PO have authority to carry on duty? Off duty?
4) Do all POs have the same powers of arrest, carry, etc?
5) What is the average PO caseload?

...and on and on and on. To tell you the truth, it's something that I have an interest in also, but I would NOT do it in a non-peace officer capacity. For example, in our state only a small percentage of probation officers are certified peace officers authorized to carry firearms and make on-view arrests (or any arrests at all, really) by virtue of their employment. In the judicial district where I work, these folks are the "high risk unit" and they generally wear a semi-soft uniform (raid shirt, duty belt, etc) and do in home checks on the worst-of-the-worst type offenders. Most of them do NOT carry a regular caseload, which means that they are checking on folks assigned to a variety of different POs.
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Old 10-10-2011, 22:56   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaBigBR View Post
Questions that I would be asking:

1) Is this a state job or a county job (or something else?)
2) What arrest powers to POs have on duty? Off duty?
3) Does a PO have authority to carry on duty? Off duty?
4) Do all POs have the same powers of arrest, carry, etc?
5) What is the average PO caseload?

...and on and on and on. To tell you the truth, it's something that I have an interest in also, but I would NOT do it in a non-peace officer capacity. For example, in our state only a small percentage of probation officers are certified peace officers authorized to carry firearms and make on-view arrests (or any arrests at all, really) by virtue of their employment. In the judicial district where I work, these folks are the "high risk unit" and they generally wear a semi-soft uniform (raid shirt, duty belt, etc) and do in home checks on the worst-of-the-worst type offenders. Most of them do NOT carry a regular caseload, which means that they are checking on folks assigned to a variety of different POs.
thanks for posting these questions the office i'm interested in is a state felony probation office and they carry weapons. I think if I did make the switch I would try to stay on my current office as a reserve to keep my training up and to keep my arrest and carry powers. I looked on the website for the gdc but they didn't have any open positions so it was hard to see what the pay scale was. I might go talk to the probation officer I know about the possibilities of making the switch in the future.

Thanks for the feed back and keep it coming!
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Old 10-11-2011, 00:45   #6
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My wife went from patrol officer to detective to Parole Officer with the state.

She is not a fan. It pays the bills, but the state is liberal, the board lets everyone walk for pretty much everything, their budget is in the toilet (furloughs, pay cuts, retirement cuts, no raise in 4 years) and morale is non-existent.

Good luck!

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Old 10-11-2011, 01:23   #7
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Friend of my wife's went from probation to parole officer. She really misses probation... Better dealing with the ones that haven't done something (yet) to justify prison. Parolees were way more hardened scumbags. Sort of like its a lot more fun teaching kindergarteners than mouthy high school kids.

Randy
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Old 10-11-2011, 02:30   #8
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Every PO I know voices concerns about caseloads, bed-checks (or hunting absconders), and Retired-on-Duty co-workers who make the whole system struggle. A good friend also discussed how budgets are being hit hard, his state vehicle is crap, and that he will violate the same guy 5 or more times before the offender gets yanked back inside.

I would talk with some of the people actually in the trenches in your state before I jumped to greener grass. It may be better where you're at -- or it may be worse.
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Old 10-11-2011, 04:08   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveksux View Post
Friend of my wife's went from probation to parole officer. She really misses probation... Better dealing with the ones that haven't done something (yet) to justify prison. Parolees were way more hardened scumbags. Sort of like its a lot more fun teaching kindergarteners than mouthy high school kids.

Randy
From my limited experience (2 year intern) probation involves much more paperwork and legal red tape compared to parole. Since I was working out state in a mainly rural county parole seemed to have a light case load compared to the probation side of the office.
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Old 10-11-2011, 04:21   #10
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I'd rather run in a circle punching myself in the face with one hand and pulling out my hair with the other.

The overload of cases, the repeat offenders that dont receive prison time, and worst of all IMO writing up felons for revocation upon re-arrest or peeing hot and the judge denying your requests over and over to put them on double secret probation.

No thanks.
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Old 10-11-2011, 06:42   #11
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I know here in NC their pay is not as good as ours is. Though it might be better than some other departments. You just have to check. And their caseload is dependent on the county they work. The ones who work the bigger cities have a huge caseload and those in the rural areas have a much smaller one. Plus the smaller the county the better the judges for the most part.
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Old 10-11-2011, 08:01   #12
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Probation - punishment before prison

Parole - punishment (usually conditional release) after prison

You get two different brands of "clients" between those two, so make sure you know which one you're applying for. Probation Officers is usually on the local/county level, and Parole Officers are usually on the state level. I would not want to go to either job from being an LEO, you would most likely lose sworn status and would not be considered police. Your job would be a lot of desk work with a caseload of hundreds (depending on your area), with the occasional home visits out in the field.

I kinda doubt any P.O. is going to make that much more than a Deputy, but then again you might be comparing apples to oranges if you are talking about different counties or county vs. state job. Most P.O.'s I've known in my career are trying to get a police job and using the P.O. experience as a precursor, not the other way around.

It may come down to job satisfaction vs. money. Most people opt for job satisfaction, even though most of us could use a little extra money. If you're that hard up for funds, I'd recommend just looking for a higher paying police job at a different agency.
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Old 10-11-2011, 09:49   #13
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Should have added the question: is this probation AND parol or one or the other?

Here they're dealing with both.
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Old 10-11-2011, 14:36   #14
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Should have added the question: is this probation AND parol or one or the other?

Here they're dealing with both.
They do both in my state also. Most of the guys I know that went over did it for the Mon-Fri 8-5 schedule, not the money. I am making considerably more where I am at as a patrolman.
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Old 10-11-2011, 18:46   #15
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From my limited experience (2 year intern) probation involves much more paperwork and legal red tape compared to parole. Since I was working out state in a mainly rural county parole seemed to have a light case load compared to the probation side of the office.
Probably depends a lot on where you are. She's Wayne co and dealing with sex offenders.

Randy
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Old 10-11-2011, 19:44   #16
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efman,
I retired from policing and I'm doing state parole as a second career. The following applies to PA (however i'm sure that most state agencies are structured similarly). State Parole Agents are "peace officers" by statute. We are armed. We supervise offenders convicted to serve (2) years plus in a state prison. County Judges are out of the picture when it comes to the supervision of our cases (unless it is a special probation case being supervised for the county). The job is most similar to being a Detective in that your day is never really done, there is always something more that can be done to "tighten" up a case, and if something goes "south" it's all on you brother. As a patrol officer (especially in a large agency) when your day is done it's done. Patrol was a blast - I miss it. Case loads average about 85 cases. Lot's of B.S. and stress and your time management skills will be tested to the Max - a constant exercise in pouring a pound of sand into a half pound container. Reports and investigations are "time sensitive". Minimum contacts are strictly enforced. Lot's of paper work which fortunately can be done, for the most part, on your issued lap top in the field (which is anywhere away from the office...). A city case load involves less driving, a LOT more arrests and action than a rural case load, however, you will also work the worst neighborhoods in the worst towns. You work mostly alone except for arrests and searches and therefore what you take into the fight is all that you will have to pull you through. Lastly, you will generally have a more dangerous case load than a County P.O. due to the length of time that the offender is facing and the more serious nature of their offenses.

The better points: The arrest of violent offenders and fugitives is priority #1 and everything stops cold when a "hot" lead comes in. Period. Excellent tactical training and equipment (more equipment than I want to carry or keep track of). 90% plus of your work week is spent in the field. Soft clothes (blue jeans, T shirt, sneakers...). Take home car. Agent controlled hours (Mon - Fri, 08:30 - 17:00 with weekends and holidays off if you wish). You are shift coverage only one day per week when you have to pull "duty day" at the office. Good benefits. Age 50 retirement. Pay is OK for PA. especially considering the hours - about $64,000.00 with 12 years of service. Excellent job security -we were authorized an additional (57) agent positions for 2011.

Best wishes, stay safe. The best years on the job for me were spent on patrol...
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Old 10-12-2011, 22:10   #17
efman
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thanks for all the input guys, I don't want to rush out of patrol or anything but i'm one of the guys that always likes to have a plan, In a few years I will want a 9-5 and I am just looking at the options, looks like probation might now be the best one but either way I am planning on small talking with the local po I know about it. thanks again for the input guys.
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Old 10-12-2011, 22:30   #18
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thanks for all the input guys, I don't want to rush out of patrol or anything but i'm one of the guys that always likes to have a plan, In a few years I will want a 9-5 and I am just looking at the options, looks like probation might now be the best one but either way I am planning on small talking with the local po I know about it. thanks again for the input guys.
In GA Parole is under the Parole Board while probation is under DOC. Parole pays a little better. Both have arrest power over their offender population. I don't know if either agency will let you stay on your SO as a reservist. Too many areas for conflict. For example what happens if you roll on one of your guys while working as a SO. You have several obligations as a PO that may conflict while working as a SO.

The greatest issue with being a PO is that there are usually two camps on the job. Social worker types and LEO types. The key is to blend both. Treat the offender where warranted, and protect the community at all times by holding the offender accountable. Note that I did not use the word client. We are not dentists, we dont have clients. They are offenders
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Old 10-13-2011, 06:24   #19
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In NC PPOs (Probation/Parole Officers) are firearm certified, sworn LEOs with state wide jurisdiction and full powers of arrest the same as all the Sheriffs in the State. Department policy limits their arrests to individuals placed on probation, parole, and post-release. However, they are encouraged to "detain" if they witness the commission of a crime and forward the subject to the locals. This is done in an effort to minimize their time in non-probation related court. By doing so the PPO can focus testifying towards his/her cases rather than some misd/infraction not relevant to the department. Case loads are affected the most by staff #'s. Stupid plea deals and soft judges don't help either. Also numbers tend to pick up during the summer.... PPOs for the most part make their own schedules, traditionally 8-5 stuff with some 1-10, 2-11, and 3-12am stuff mixed in. They are required to work one weekend day a month, but not limited to one. They are issued a full safety package (firearm, vest, OCS, cuffs....) and provided w/ an unmakred state vehicle, no light bars or sirens. There is a lot more info out there PM if you've got anymore questions.....
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Old 10-13-2011, 06:40   #20
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I am a probation officer in WV. I supervise a combo of adult and juvenile offenders. Do NOT think they are less hard. Most of my adults are career criminals, but the judges are getting cracked down on by legislature to put less in jail because of overcrowding. I worked Parole for several years then went to the State M.E. as an investigator and came back. I have a blown knee and wouldnt make our police academy here or I would be in a uniform somewhere or a Fed.

Whetehr you are armed or not somesimes depends on your job duties or locale. As far as pay goes, I make twice what our local depuites and officer do, and twice as much as I did when I worked for parole who was under the Corrections dept. I have pretty much straight days M-F. Anything else is pretty much decided by me. Where you want to be for the cash is working as a COURT probation officer. They typically have their own budget uncontrolled by legislature, and can hire and give raises at a much higher level.

Most require a bachelor's degree with NO substitution for experience. My dept pays me to go get my Master's (doing it right now), gives me a 5% increase every 15 credits and when I complete the degree. That is in addition to any other pay raises that are handed out during that period. I can also go for a +45 credits if I want and get increases every 15 with that too. I get a longevity raise every third year.

Only downside is it is a will and pleasure job, meaning if they decide to get rid of me or my position there is no civil service protection.

I have a cherry gig, and fought hard for the last 10 years to get here.

On another note, our state has a little system where they hire mainly reitred troopers as investigators at state agenices and wardens and such at state corrctional facilities. Great little double dip for them. Some of the older ones are on what they call Plan A retirement where they got to reitre with 100% of their salary. So when you add another fulltime job after that to the full salary, they do pretty well.

OP if you have any other questions feel free to PM me. I have lots of friends and family members in regualr LEO jobs, and can see both sides.
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