Waterloo is the center of probation and parole operations in Iowa’s First Judicial District. All probation and parole services in the state are divided into eight judicial districts, which includes 33 field offices located throughout the state. The first district has seven field offices: two located in Waterloo proper and one office each located in Dubuque, Manchester, Oelwein, Decorah and Independence. The first district is comprised of 11 cities. In total, the first district has 4,500 offenders on probation or parole, with about a quarter of them serving sentences for drug crimes, according to a study released by the department in July of 2012.
Probation and parole services in Iowa are fairly unique when compared to other states in the country. For instance, most states have separate departments for parole and probation services, while Iowa combines the two. Also, each parole and probation district in Iowa operates fairly autonomously. Most states have a supervising department that oversees all probation and parole services throughout the state, but Iowa does not.
Another aspect of probation and parole services in the state that is unique is the fact that officers have peace officer status, which means they are allowed to make arrests and can carry firearms (the ability to carry a firearm varies from district to district.)
Minimum Requirements and Qualifications
In order to obtain a parole and probation officer job in the first district, a person should first review the minimum requirements and qualifications needed for the position. The requirements are as follows:
- Must be at least 21 years of age
- Must be a United States citizen
- Must have a valid drivers license
- Must have a high school diploma, a GED or an equivalent
- Must be able to pass a criminal background check
While only a high school diploma is needed in order to qualify for probation and parole officer positions, Iowa’s First Judicial District prefers applicants to have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Those who do have a college degree will receive special consideration over those who do not during the hiring process.
If hired, probation and parole officers are required to complete 80 hours of training classes during the first year of employment with the district. Because of the comprehensive nature of probation and parole services in the area, training classes focus on numerous aspects related to probation and parole techniques, including arrest procedures, investigation, pre-trial procedures, rehabilitation, counseling and the psychology of mental health and substance abuse, among many other subjects.
After the first year of employment with Iowa’s First Judicial District probation and parole department, officers may be required to take part in additional training to stay current on state and local procedural changes.