Probation Officer Career in Erie County, New York

The second largest city in New York is Buffalo, and the probation services for this city are provided through the Erie County Department of Probation.  The Department of Probation works closely with the lower and upper courts of Erie County adult and juvenile justice systems to serve Buffalo, Tonawanda and Lackawanna, among many other smaller towns and burgs.

The adult probation system has several programs including Felony DWI, Sex Offender Unit, Domestic Violence Unit, and Intensive Supervision.  The Erie County Department of Probation also manages various pretrial services including supervision of offenders released on bail. It also manages offenders who have been sentenced to community service.

Erie County’s Distinguished Probation System

Erie County’s probation officers have been honored in recent years for their outstanding service.  The 18 officer Warrant Squad was awarded the 2012 Award for Outstanding Service by Probation Officers from the New York State Probation Officers’ Association.  This honor was given in recognition of exceptional dedication, service and professionalism.  The Warrant Squad was established in 2008 and is composed of volunteer officers who receive additional training in firearms and defensive tactics so that they may assist in the search and apprehension of suspects.

When founded in 2008, almost 845 probation warrants were still outstanding; since then the Warrant Squad has served 487 warrants. These officers conduct semi-monthly warrant details involving eight officers.  This new group allows probation officers to reach high risk probationers and serve legal documents without the assistance of local police. The Warrant Squad also participates in the Buffalo Police Department’s Clean Sweep Operations.

How to Become a Probation Officer in Erie County, New York

In order to join the Erie County Department of Probation, as a probation officer, candidates must meet one or more of the following educational requirements:

  • Possess a bachelor’s degree with at least 30 semester hours in Education, Social Work, Criminal Justice, or Behavioral Science.
  • Possess a master’s degree in Law, Social Work, Criminal Justice, Education, Correction Treatment, Sociology or Psychology

Candidates must also meet the following qualifications

  • Resided in Erie County for at least one month
  • Successfully pass the civil service exam provided by Erie County with questions on
    • Preparing written materials
    • Developing relationships with probationers and defendants
  • Ability to carry and use firearms
  • Ability to pass the peace officer training program

Erie County’s Probation Officer Training

Probation officers in Erie County must join the department as trainees and serve in that role for at least two years.  During this time, they must enroll in and complete the peace officer training course offered by New York State.  This 40 hour course is a week in length and will certify probation officer trainees in

  • Firearms and deadly force
  • Chemical weapons
  • Defensive tactics
  • Defensive driving

In order to maintain this certification 21 hours of additional training must be obtained annually after the first year. Within the initial six months, probation officer trainees must also complete a two week course Fundamentals of Probation Practice.  Fundamentals of Community Corrections is also available to trainees who desire more specialized knowledge of evidence-based practices and rehabilitative methodologies.

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