The New Mexico Department of Corrections supervises people both on parole and probation. As of January 2013, there were 1,162 people were on parole in New Mexico and 11,565 on probation. Probation/parole officers in New Mexico supervise both classes of offenders. There were 280 such professionals working in the state in 2007.
Las Cruces is the center of the office for Region III, one of five regional probation/parole divisions in New Mexico. 71 employees serve public safety in this region, which stretches from the Arizona border on the west to Ruidoso in the east and goes south to the border with Texas.
In addition to the three offices in Las Cruces, each of the following cities in Region III has a probation/parole office:
- Silver City
- T or C
Becoming a Probation/Parole Officer in Las Cruces: Education, Training
To apply for probation/parole officer jobs in Las Cruces, a bachelor’s degree is required. It can be in any field, but the applicant must have had 15 semester hours in behavioral or police science classes, either as part of the major or taken as additional classes.
Additional requirements include having U.S. citizenship and a phone at home. Applicants must pass a physical test before they can apply. They can expect to undergo drug testing and a background check as part of the employment process.
New employees attend the Corrections Department Training Academy to learn how to become probation/parole officers in Las Cruces. Before they become officers, the candidates must first pass classes in defensive tactics, CPR, and first aid.
Some probation/parole officers are selected to become part of a Community Response Team that will seek out individuals that have violated their parole or probation. These officers will receive liability training and become proficient with firearms. They are then known as Community Policing officers.
The Probation/Parole Officer Hierarchy
There are two categories of probation/parole officers in New Mexico. New officers start at Level 1, while more experienced officers that may need to be armed for their work with high-risk offenders are designated as Level 2.
The careers of probation/parole officers include assessing the offenders to determine how much risk they pose and then developing a case plan for the individuals. This can involve connecting them with services such as mental health counseling and/or substance abuse treatment and employment centers.
Probation/parole officers monitor their cases to determine if the individuals are following the plan and going to their jobs or training programs. First time drug offenders are steered to Drug Court. High-risk offenders are supervised more closely than low-risk offenders.