Parole officers often work jointly with other law enforcement officers to achieve the optimum outcome. In August of 2012, Operation Gangbusters involved 150 officers from the Oakland parole department and local law enforcement agencies. The broad sweep covered the cities of Hayward, Fremont, Oakland and Union City. It resulted in the arrest of 48 individuals and the confiscation of guns, machetes, marijuana and $5,000 cash. Thirty-seven of the violators were on parole. Ironically, almost half of those arrested were wearing global-positioning devices on their wrists, making them easy to find. These monitoring devices have been placed on roughly 800 known gang members in the Oakland region.
Parole officers in smaller cities also find it productive to join forces with other law enforcement agencies. On March 22, 2013, parole agents in Oakland and local police officers conducted a sweep of 16 homes in Seaside and Marina. Six persons were arrested, four of whom were parolees. Marijuana, deadly weapons and/or drug paraphernalia were confiscated. Cooperative efforts like this help to keep parolees in compliance.
Being a Parole Officer in Oakland and Throughout Region II
In August of 2011, a reporter for the “California Report” spent a day with San Francisco Parole Officer Martin Figueroa, a 10-year veteran with a master’s degree in psychology. The 40 parolees in his charge are serious second-time offenders. Figueroa was making home visits that day and was dressed in jeans, sneakers and a black hoodie to “blend in” at the city’s notorious housing projects. It was only 8 a.m. but the first parolee was not home. Instructions were left for him to come to the parole office but if he doesn’t show an arrest warrant will be issued. Figueroa said he often feels like he’s “chasing ghosts.”
The next two visits were with a parolee who is doing exceptionally well and a mental health patient who needed encouragement to stay on his meds. Figueroa emphasized that parole officer jobs involve being supportive and not projecting a “prison guard image.” Some parolees need mental health care while others are decent people who made poor choices and need to be treated with respect. However, violence is the “tipping point” and Figueroa carries handcuffs, pepper spray and a gun under his hoodie.
Requirements to Become a Parole Officer in the Oakland Region
Basic requirements to become a parole officer in Oakland are:
- U.S. citizen at least 21 years old
- Bachelor’s degree OR
- Two years of college and two years relevant experience
- Able to pass a drug test and background investigation
- No felony convictions
Annual salaries of in the Oakland region range between $42,452 and $74,667/year depending upon qualifications and location. Interested persons should check the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s website or call regional headquarters at 510/622-4701.
Region II Parole Office Locations
Region II of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s Division of Adult Parole Operations is headquartered in Oakland. The region includes unit offices in the cities of:
According to CDCR statistics, there were 91,701 adult parolees in California in 2010, 25,208 of which were in Region II.