Tiffany Wernette has been a probation officer in Coconino County, Arizona for the past three years. She has been commended by her superiors a number of times during those three years and recently Wernette received the Scotia Knouff Line Officer of the Year Award for Coconino County Adult Probation.
She was nominated for the award – and subsequently won the honor – primarily because more than 90 percent of the parolees assigned to her successfully completed their probation terms. In addition to the high rate of probation completions, more than 75 percent of Wernette’s case load qualified for early termination of their probation due to good behavior.
Wernette was not only nominated for the prestigious award by her superiors but by her fellow probation officers as well. She told reporters it was a “distinct honor” to be nominated especially by her contemporaries and that she feels proud to represent the accomplishments of the law enforcement community in Coconino County. She says she really didn’t realize how much of an impact her work was having on her department, on her clients, and on her community because she was just doing her job “the way she was trained to do it.” She says that in talking to her clients on a regular basis, she finds that the vast majority of them actually want to change their lives for the better but simply don’t know how and that her job as a probation officer is to show them how.
Wernette works closely with each individual client and takes an active interest in their lives during their probation. She facilitates cognitive training for them so that they can learn to set realistic life goals and work toward accomplishing them. She says that she cares about each client’s individual needs and that her job is essentially two-fold – she must assist them and be their “cheerleader” but also ensure that they are following the rules of their probation.