The Importance of Nurturing Partnerships between Law Enforcement and Probation Agencies

The American Probation and Parole Association (APPA) speaks to the importance of cultivating community policing through key partnerships. Although probation agencies and law enforcement agencies have the same mission in mind, solid partnerships between these two entities are often not developed or nurtured.

Although it may seem as if these two groups of law enforcement professionals have diametrically opposing viewpoints on criminals – police officers are working to get offenders off the streets, while probation officers are looking to keep them in the community – both professionals, in fact, are working to keep offenders from committing new crimes. In different roles, both are effectively working to serve and protect the public.

Why these Partnerships are Vital

Probation officers must ensure that offenders on probation remain in compliance with the conditions of their probation, while also taking care to recognize public safety and pro-social behavior change. Without partnerships with law enforcement officials, however, it becomes much more difficult to set in place techniques for doing so. In short, community policing must be a partnership between law enforcement and probation as to achieve the best results, which is long-term public safety and the successful reintegration of offenders back into the community.

How to Create Lasting Partnerships

There are a number of considerations that must be addressed if a successful partnership between law enforcement and probation is to take place:

  • Both agencies must have an appreciation and understanding of each other. They must understand the strengths of each other and the challenges they face.
  • Both agencies must respect jurisdictional boundaries and understand that several law enforcement agencies may be involved within just one probation jurisdiction.
  • Formal policies and procedures may provide a level of understanding for both agencies.
  • Both agencies must understand that a good partnership takes time, although a successful outcome can be achieved if all involved parties are committed to the dignity and respect of each other.