Modern probation and parole officers in Fort Smith, Arkansas are part of a long heritage of law enforcement professionals dating back to the settling of the Wild West. In fact the principle function of probation and parole officers in Fort Smith continues to be to preserve public order and safety, just as it was when the city served as a military post in 1817.
Officers supervise parolees who are released early from their prison term, and probationers who must live within certain rules and restrictions as part of their court sentence. Probation and parole officers will arrest or report any violations of an offender’s probation or parole, but will also provide positive support in the hopes of teaching offenders how to become productive citizens of Fort Smith.
Education for a Probation and Parole Officer in Fort Smith
A bachelor’s degree in sociology, psychology, criminal justice, social work, or another related field is the formal education requirement to become a probation and parole officer in Fort Smith. However work experience or a combination of this and some higher education may be substituted. The final say on what constitutes an acceptable substitution for a bachelor’s degree lies with the Qualifications Review Committee.
Applicants will have to monitor the Arkansas jobs listing website for any probation and parole officer job postings in Fort Smith. The positions are officially listed as DCC Parole/Probation Officer I/A-5 (Department of Community Corrections), with Fort Smith being located in the DCC’s fifth area/district.
Before filling out an application, candidates will need to create an online account with the State’s employment service. Candidates must fill out applications completely or they will not be considered.
Training for a Probation and Parole Officer Career in Fort Smith
After being hired, officers will attend an employee orientation followed by a six-week probation and parole training academy. Officers will learn all the basics for their new career, including:
- Arkansas State laws and codes
- Arrest procedures and use of force regulations
- Firearms training
- First aid and CPR
- Parolee and probationer intake psychological assessments
- Community resource referral
After their initial year on the job, officers will need to complete annual continuing education totaling 80 classroom hours each year.
A Career as a Probation and Parole Officer in Fort Smith
Working as a probation and parole officer is both challenging and rewarding. Officers cannot be afraid of using discipline, but must also have faith in the rehabilitative process. A career as a probation officer involves:
- Keeping up on all the procedures, regulations, policies, and conditions of probation and parole
- Assessing offender situations and conducting intake interviews and risk evaluations
- Referring probationers and parolees to the appropriate community resources:
- Mental health counseling
- Vocational training
- Addiction treatment
- Thoroughly documenting interviews, violations, assessments, and instructions
- Working with a variety of people from offenders to members of the criminal justice system