Being a probation and parole officer in Little Rock requires skill, dedication, and an ideological commitment to the job and the community. Probation and parole officers supervise probationers who have been sentenced to specific terms and conditions by a judge, and parolees who have been released from prison early and who still require monitoring.
Officers play a key role in protecting public safety by holding offenders accountable to their terms of release and sentence, while at the same time helping them to become reintegrated into the Little Rock community.
In June of 2012 there were 627 people employed in probation and parole services across Arkansas.
Education for a Career in Little Rock Probation and Parole
In general a bachelor’s degree in psychology, sociology, social work, criminal justice, or a similar field is required for Little Rock-based candidates interested in learning how to become probation and parole officers. However equivalent work or education experience can be substituted for this education requirement, at the discretion of the Officer of Personnel Management’s Qualifications Review Committee.
Because applications are only accepted when there are vacancies, candidates for Little Rock probation and parole officer jobs need to monitor the State’s employment listings online. When applying, candidates will need to first create an ARStateJobs account. Jobs are officially listed as DCC (Department of Community Corrections) Parole/Probation Officer I/A7, as Little Rock is located in Area Seven (A7) of the DCC’s districting scheme.
After submitting a fully-completed application the successful candidate will be notified by the DCC human resources department about when to report for an interview. The application process involves passing a thorough background check and a drug test.
What to Expect as a Little Rock Probation Officer
A probation and parole officer’s primary duty is to protect and uphold public safety and order through the skillful execution of the position’s job duties. While serving the public, officers also provide an opportunity for offender rehabilitation through supervision and guidance. Typical job duties include:
- Providing appropriate referrals to programs such as:
- Mental health counseling
- Housing and food assistance agencies
- Drug and alcohol treatment
- Vocational training programs
- Conducting offender in-take interviews, evaluations, and risk assessments
- Assisting in the administration of court-ordered random drug tests
Training, Certification and Employee Orientation
Once officers have been hired they will attend an employee orientation followed by the probation and parole officer training academy. This is a six-week training program that will provide newly hired officers with the fundamental skills and certifications they will need in their new career. Areas covered include:
- Firearms and non-lethal weapons training
- Psychological evaluations and risk assessments
- Offender intake interviewing techniques
- Arkansas State Code and criminal justice system
- Search, detention, and arrest procedures
After the first year of employment, probation and parole officers in Little Rock will need to complete 80 hours of continuing education classes for each successive additional year on the job.