Probation is a proven, cost-effective utilization of taxpayer’s dollars within the Criminal Justice System to supervise offenders in the community as an alternative to incarceration. Probation services are mandated by New York State law, Section 256 of the New York State Executive Law that provides for the establishment of county probation agencies.
Today’s probation officers find themselves performing many of the functions performed by their counterparts in the police and corrections services. Like police and other peace officers throughout the state, Putnam County probation officers are armed and trained in the use of weapons and are exposed on a daily basis to the risks and dangers involved in managing an increasingly high risk and sometimes violent criminal population.
Probation officers in Putnam County provide a vital law enforcement element to the community’s public safety and comprise the main support function to our Criminal Justice System. Their duties involve them in virtually all phases of the criminal justice process. A probation officer is challenged to be a peace officer, case manager, and the investigative arm of the courts. Administratively, a probation officer is within the executive branch of government.
Probation officers are challenged to oversee the supervision and treatment of offenders, satisfy crime victims, be accountable to the public, monitor school and employment progress, conduct home visits, supervise resistant, high-risk offenders, administer drug/alcohol tests and be on call to duty as needed twenty-four hours a day.
Probation officers must be thoroughly trained in such areas as chemical dependency, the law, sex offenses, child abuse, domestic violence, literacy, employment counseling, mental health, field and office safety, defensive tactics and crisis intervention. They must be familiar with the resources available in the community and must be able to effectively collaborate with other law enforcement agencies as well as the various rehabilitative organizations which provide services to their clients.