Juvenile probation in Santa Fe County, New Mexico is administered by Juvenile Probation Officers in the Children, Youth and Families Department within the New Mexico State Government. Santa Fe County is part of the First Judicial District, which also includes Rio Arriba and Los Alamos counties. JPOs in this district are involved in the cases of suspected juvenile offenders prior to booking. Police often send reports of juvenile offenders to JPOs so that they may make preliminary investigations, and juvenile probation offices must authorize detentions.
Once a determination has been made to proceed, the juvenile probation office will send a referral to the Children’s Court Attorney. All felony offenses are automatically referred to the Children’s Court Attorney, as are almost all cases of a third misdemeanor offense within two years. Once the Court Attorney received the referral, a decision is made to proceed to trial.
The juvenile probation officer must then bring the juvenile to a preliminary hearing in a timely manner. If the JPO decides that the offender is best served through informal programs rather than detention, a variety of treatment, restitution or community service options may be implemented.
Issues Facing Juvenile Probation Officers in Santa Fe County, New Mexico
Santa Fe youths face a wide array of issues that have contributed to a widespread juvenile delinquency problem. There is a higher than average number of children living in poverty with 44 percent of children under five years of age with single mothers living in impoverished conditions. High school dropout rates continue to remain higher than statewide figures with almost 6.9 percent dropping out and only 60 percent actually receive a high school diploma. In 2003, the total number of juvenile arrests was 2,241 including 493 violent crimes and 672 drug related offenses.
Requirements to Become a Juvenile Probation Officer in Santa Fe County, New Mexico
Juvenile probation officer jobs in Santa Fe County, New Mexico can pay between $30,534 and $54,308 in annual salary. To become a juvenile probation officer in Santa Fe County, applicants must meet these qualifications:
- Possess at least an associate’s degree with 15 semester hours of classes in one or more of these
- Public administration
- Criminal justice
- Police science
- Social work
- Guidance and counseling
- Juvenile justice
- Be a U.S. citizen
- Have good moral character
- No felony convictions
- Possess a valid New Mexico driver’s license
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Able to pass a drug test
- Have a home telephone and be willing to be on-call
- Willingness to travel
New officers must obtain certifications in First Aid and CPR, as well as in the use of Mace and chemical sprays within the first year of employment. A 120 hour training program must be completed prior to service. After the first year, juvenile probation officers must complete 40 hours of training annually.