The city of Ft. Myers is located in the Southern Probation Region and is home to the main circuit office that covers the counties of Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee. In terms of the number of counties, the Ft. Myers office covers one of the largest land areas of any probation and parole office in Florida. The Ft. Myers circuit is responsible for supervising the day-to-day lives of about 6,850 offenders in the area, which also makes it one of the largest probation and parole operations in the state. The probation and parole operations in the five counties are separated into five offices: two located in Ft. Myers proper, and the others located in the cities of Naples, LaBelle and Punta Gorda. The total incarceration numbers in this judicial district are 3,416, according to a Department of Justice report written in 2010.
Probation and parole officers in Ft. Myers not only conduct investigations and supervise offenders; they also provide help in regards to drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs, employment counseling, mental health and sex offender treatment programs, among many other duties.
All probation and parole officers in Florida are granted peace officer status, which means they are allowed to carry a firearm (optional) and arrest probation and parole violators as long as the offenders are under the supervision of the officer making the arrest. These opportunities to make arrests and carry a firearm are not as commonplace in other states around the country.
As probation and parole operations are state-run in Florida, all requirements are the same for each circuit office in the state. One of the main requirements is that probation and parole officer applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. There are also minimum requirements an applicant must meet in order to obtain a probation and parole officer job in Ft. Myers, Florida, including the following:
- Must be at least 19 years of age
- Must be a United States citizen
- Must have a valid driver’s license
- Must have a clean criminal background
- Must be physically fit and of high moral character
Application Process and Training Academy
All applicants seeking a probation and parole officer career in Ft. Myers must complete a series of exams, evaluations and interviews before being considered for a position with the office. The largest test is the Civil Service Examination, which is conducted by the Florida Department of Corrections.
Applicants who successfully complete the hiring process are then required to enroll in the training academy. During the first year of employment, a probation and parole officer must complete 640 hours of training. After the first year, probation and parole officer training consists of 40 hours of additional classes every year that the person is employed by the department.
Those officers that decide to carry a firearm must complete additional training, as well as complete re-certification training every year that they work for the Ft, Myers judicial district.