Delaware County is the fifth largest county in Pennsylvania with almost 558,000 residents concentrated in the cities of Media and Chester. Adult Probation and Parole Services (APPS) is a department within the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas and provides supervision of probationers and misdemeanor parolees.
APPS is comprised of 90 Probation and Parole Officers and support staff. APPS supervises more than 13,000 offenders through three main offices in Media, Sharon Hill and Chester. The average caseload for each of the 59 probation/parole officers is about 255 cases. The starting salary for a probation/parole officer jobs in Delaware County is $34,000.
What it Takes to Become a Probation and Parole Officer in Delaware
Prospective candidates for probation and parole officer jobs in Delaware County should possess a bachelor’s degree, although, in some cases, an associate’s degree and two years of experience in offender supervision or social work may be acceptable. The most common subjects of study for those looking at how to become probation officers in Delaware County are:
- Social work
- Criminal justice
- Law enforcement
- Legal studies
The most competitive applicants are likely to possess advanced degrees and prior experience in community supervision. A master’s degree or higher is highly encouraged and may provide competitive advantages during hiring, salary determination and pace of promotion. Obtaining experience in community supervision may be found through internships, volunteering or trainee opportunities. Applicants should be county residents and possess a valid driver’s license.
Upon hiring, new probation/parole officers must enroll and complete the basic training program at the Basic Training Academy. Select officers may also be required to complete the 31 hour Basic Firearms Training Course which will allow graduates to carry and use firearms. After the first year, probation/parole officers must complete 40 additional hours of training and re-qualify with firearms to maintain their peace officer standing.
The Career of a Probation and Parole Officer in Delaware County
In 2012, APPS supervised 6,772 new parole or probation cases and closed 6,988 cases. It also requested 3,735 bench warrants or detainers, and conducted 216 pretrial investigations. In addition to General Supervision, APPS also utilizes Sex Offender Supervision, Electronic Home Monitoring and the Criminal Justice Halfway House Program. Sex offenders are supervised by probation/parole officers with rigorous training regarding behavior patterns. Sex Offender Supervision is based on the “Containment Model” which prioritizes public safety. Various treatment modalities are utilized with sex offenders to minimize inappropriate behavior.
Electronic Home Monitoring employs GPS tracking, home confinement and other electronic monitoring systems to ensure that offenders comply with the terms of their probation or parole. This system allows offenders to continue working or receiving treatment. Random home visits are also used to ensure compliance.
The Criminal Justice Halfway House Program is a residential program that permits offenders to remain housed while receiving intensive substance abuse treatment. Designed to mitigate immediate re-incarceration of probation or parole violators with chemical dependencies, the Criminal Justice Halfway House Program helps transition offenders into society through continuing employment or job seeking. Community Service offenders may also be housed at these facilities.