Juvenile crime in East Tampa is a highly visible problem, and in 2010, juveniles were committing most of the serious offenses. The police work with juvenile probation officers in East Tampa and pay particular attention to youths that have broken into or stolen automobiles or committed robberies or burglaries.
The overall crime rate for Hillsborough County dropped nearly seven percent from 2011 to 2012. The number of juveniles referred to the Department of Juvenile Justice dropped 27% between 2008 and 2011 for the city of Tampa, and nearly 26% for Hillsborough County as a whole.
This still left a number of juvenile offenders needing the services of juvenile probation officers, since over 5,600 youths were referred to the Division of Juvenile Justice from Hillsborough County in 2010-2011. This area had a higher number of youths who were categorized as serious, violent, and chronic offenders in fiscal year 2011-2012 than the state of Florida as a whole.
Training to be a Juvenile Probation Officer in Hillsborough County
Bachelor’s Degree – Juvenile probation officer jobs in Hillsborough County require a bachelor’s degree. Additional requirements include being a U.S. citizen and at least 19 years old. First Aid and CPR certification is also required for these positions. Applicants must undergo background checks.
280 Hours of Training – New employees learn how to become juvenile probation officers through 280 hours of training. This training takes place in two phases. The first phase involves 80 hours of on the job training at their office and by shadowing an established juvenile probation officer.
Probation Officer Academy – After this, juvenile probation officers launch their careers by attending the Juvenile Probation Officer Academy that is located in Quincy. The first part of their studies involves learning Protective Action Response (PAR). This takes 32 hours. Next comes 168 hours of coursework. The trainees learn about a number of aspects of legal and procedural issues involved in becoming a juvenile probation officer. A key area is learning how to assess the risk posed by an individual juvenile offender using the Positive Achievement Change Tool (PACT).
Juvenile Justice in Hillsborough County
The Thirteenth Judicial District of Florida encompasses all of Hillsborough County. Juvenile cases comprise one of the Divisions of this circuit court. The Juvenile Division handles all of the felony and misdemeanor cases of youths under 18 in the county, including felony traffic offenses.
Juvenile probation officers work for the Department of Juvenile Justice. They meet with the youth and his or her family to assess the risk that the individual poses to public safety. They also assess whether or not the youth could benefit from services such as substance abuse or mental health treatment.
These officers also oversee those youths that have been sentenced to probation as an alternative to detention. Research on juvenile low-level offenders in Florida has found that those who take part in probation are much less likely to reoffend than those who are incarcerated.