The Hillsborough County community corrections office serves the fourth-largest population center in Florida. As the largest city in Hillsborough County, Tampa is where the main probation and parole office is located for the county. Probation and parole officers in Hillsborough County, often referred to as community corrections officers, serve the public by monitoring offenders that have been sentenced to probation or released from prison on parole for a variety of reasons, which range from minor offenses to major crimes.
Hillsborough County is responsible for monitoring the activities of 11,121 offenders on probation and parole, and has a total of 2,970 people under incarceration, which represents an incarceration rate of 2.4-percent of the total county population. There are 10 probation and parole offices in the county, which are located in Tampa (eight offices,) Plant City and Gibsonton.
Probation officers in Florida are considered peace officers under state guidelines, which means that they are allowed to make arrests when needed and are permitted to carry firearms, although it is not mandatory. Community corrections officers are only allowed to arrest individuals who are under their supervision and who are in violation of their probation.
Education and Experience Requirements
Probation and parole officers in Hillsborough County are required to meet minimum requirements and qualifications when applying for available jobs. Job requirements for those interested in learning how to become probation officers in Tampa and throughout Hillsborough County include the following:
- Must be at least 19 years of age
- Must be a United States citizen
- Must not have any felonies or serious misdemeanors on a criminal record
- Must have a valid driver’s license
- Must have a bachelor’s degree
Applicants with work or education experience in social work, sociology, psychology, counseling, law enforcement, criminal justice or the military are given special consideration.
If applicants are deemed fit for probation and parole officer jobs with the Hillsborough County probation offices, they will then be moved through the rest of the hiring process. The hiring process includes a group interview with supervisors from the community corrections office, a physical examination, a psychological exam and a Civil Service Examination, which is a written exam that measures an applicants ability to serve the state in a law enforcement position. The exam is managed at the state level by the Florida Department of Corrections.
Training Academy for Hillsborough County’s Community Corrections Officers
Applicants who move through the hiring process successfully will then become employees with the Hillsborough County Community Corrections office and will be required to attend the training academy. Probation and Parole officer training requires the completion of 640 hours of intensive training during the first year of employment. Firearms training is required for those recruits that decide to carry a firearm. After the completion of training, probation officers are granted certified community corrections officer status by the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission.
After the first year of employment with the Hillsborough County Community Corrections office, employees are required to complete 40 hours of additional training each year throughout their careers. Probation and parole officers that carry a firearm are required to re-qualify their firearms license every year.