Working as a probation and parole officer in Washington County, Arkansas requires integrity and the will to make a positive difference in the local communities of Fayetteville and Springdale, and beyond. Officers supervise probationers who have been sentenced to terms of probation and parolees who have been released early from prison but still require supervision.
Fayetteville and Springdale are Washington County’s two largest cities. Along with the cities of Bentonville and Rogers, Arkansas’ second largest metropolitan area is located in and around Washington County. In 2010 data showed the total population of the county to be just over 203,000 people, having grown over 25 percent since the year 2000.
As of May of 2012 there were 890 probation and parole officer jobs across the state, paying a median annual salary of $35,920.
What it Takes to Begin a Washington County Probation and Parole Officer Career
Requirements – Those interested in applying for Washington County probation and parole officer jobs should ideally have a bachelor’s degree in social work, criminology, sociology, police science, psychology, criminal justice, or a related field. However having work-related experience can substitute for this education requirement, as can a combination of related work and study. The final decision on acceptable education substitutions is made by the State Qualifications Review Committee.
Applying – Candidates interested in applying for probation and parole officer jobs in Washington County can start by monitoring the State’s website where employment vacancies are posted. The official job listing is DCC Parole/Probation Officer I/A-1, as Washington County is in the DCC’s first district/area. Before filling out an application to become a probation officer in Washington County, the candidate must create an online profile with the State’s employment service.
Training – Candidates who make it through the application process and are hired attend one week of orientation and then a six-week-long probation and parole officer training academy. The academy provides all the basic training needed to begin a successful probation and parole career, and upon graduation officers will be certified to the standards of the Arkansas Law Enforcement Standard Commission and the Department of Community Correction’s (DCC) probation and parole officer rank.
What to Expect from a Career with the Washington County Probation District
Working as a probation and parole officer is a challenging and rewarding career. An officer must always keep his or her sense of perspective and not lose sight of the broad objectives of the position – public safety and offender rehabilitation – during difficult times. Job duties include:
- Maintaining a positive rapport with offenders, while holding them to account for any probation or parole violations
- Making community visits or scheduling office appointments to check up on offenders
- Conducting investigations into an offender’s background, support network status, and well-being
- Making offender referrals to appropriate community and social programs