Probation officers in Beaver County, Pennsylvania are now permitted to carry a firearm during work hours thanks to a policy change implemented by county officials. Judge John D. McBride, President of Beaver County, recently signed an official order that reverses the now former policy stating that the county’s probation officers are not allowed to carry any type of firearm while they are carrying out their duties. The judge said that his decision to sign the order and reverse the long-standing restriction was the end result of careful consideration following several years of talks with probation officers and county representatives regarding the need for such action to be taken.
Out of the 67 counties in the state of Pennsylvania, only 11 had policies that prohibited probation officers to carry a firearm while working. Now there are only 10 counties after the change in policy in Beaver County. The Director of Adult Probation, Don Neill, told reporters that he is extremely pleased about the Judge’s decision to go ahead with signing the order and believes that it will not only make current officers feel more confident and secure in performing their jobs but will encourage future potential officers who may have otherwise chosen not to become probations officers for lack of sufficient personal protection.
Neill said that the ultimate goal for the Adult Probation officers is to have them “out in the community” on a more frequent and consistent basis. The policy does not require Beaver County probation officers to carry a firearm but it gives them the option to do so if they should feel the need for one. Officers who do choose to carry a weapon will be required to complete classroom training and ongoing shooting range training according to the current protocol that has been established by the Pennsylvania Firearm Education and Training Commission.