Probation Officer Career in San Diego County, California

San Diego County, California’s probation department has 1,025 sworn and 279 non-sworn employees who work out of 17 main facilities and other court and law enforcement offices. Headed by Chief Probation Officer Mack Jenkins, the department has earned nine National Association of Counties achievement awards over the last three years.

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The San Diego County Probation Department serves roughly 17,486 adult probationers (440 of whom are sex offenders). Each year deputy probation officers conduct 11,035 pre-sentence investigations, have over 131,328 in-person meetings with offenders, and visit 8,328 victims to inform them of their rights and obtain  a victim impact statement. Adult gang unit deputy probation officers supervise 430 gang members. The department is also involved in collaborative efforts with other law enforcement agencies to develop outreach prevention programs.

How to Apply for a Deputy Probation Officer Career in San Diego

A Bachelor’s degree or better from an accredited college/university is required of those who are interested in learning how to become a probation officer in San Diego County.

The Job Hotline (858/514-8558) lists all open county jobs. Applications for probation officer are only accepted online. The forms can be accessed by clicking “Career Opportunities” at the San Diego Probation Department website. Applications received when there are no openings are evaluated and placed on a “pre-qualified” list to be contacted when probation officer jobs are available, if the following requirements are met:

  • 21 years of age or older
  • U.S. citizen
  • No felony convictions
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher
  • Valid CA driver’s license/good driving record
  •  One year experience as a correctional deputy probation officer OR as a paid law enforcement employee involved in investigations OR as a K-12 teacher OR supervisor in the U.S. military
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Knowledge of counseling theory/methods, interviewing techniques, behavioral science principles, report writing, current technologies.

Qualified individuals must undergo a criminal and personal background check, polygraph, medical exam, psychological evaluation and physical fitness test. The annual Deputy Probation Officer I salary is $53,560 to $65,104. All new hires receive extensive training during their first year on the job.

Duties of Adult Probation Officers in San Diego

Probation officers supervise offenders who have been sentenced to probation with specific conditions in lieu of prison. Deputy probation officer job duties in San Diego County include:

  • Investigate offender backgrounds to assist judges with sentencing
  • Interview and counsel probationers
  • Refer offenders to available services in the community
  • Write detailed reports, case histories and court orders
  • Interview victims
  • Testify in court

In addition, San Diego has 150 armed deputy probation officers who work with one of the following special operations:

  • Catch ID Team. Conducts searches on probationers with histories of identity theft; investigates and prosecutes repeat offenders.
  • Electronics Surveillance. Monitors offenders with electronic detection devices.
  • Gang Suppression Unit. Oversees gang members on probation through personal contacts, drug testing, fourth waiver searches, risk assessments, job counseling and referrals. Gives gang awareness presentations at schools/community groups.
  • Auto Theft Task Force. Targets probationers involved with auto theft networks.
  • Warrant Unit. Tracks and apprehends probation absconders.

Internship Program with the San Diego Probation Department

The department has an internship program for college students that provides an excellent opportunity to gain the experience and skills needed to become a probation officer. Interns must commit to 190 hours and undergo a background investigation, medical exam and drug test. Contact person is Veronica Velez, 858/514-3123.

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