Probation officers that serve the community of Syracuse, New York and its surrounding areas are hired on through by Onondaga County Probation Department. The Probation Department currently employs 81 staffers and provides pretrial investigations for the criminal courts to determine if defendants should be released on bail or sentenced to probation. Probation officers also conduct a wide variety of supervisory functions including intensive supervision, half-way housing, alcohol and drug abuse, electronic home confinement, and Persons in Need of Supervision.
Onondaga County’s RESTORE Program
Between 2008 and 2011, Onondaga Probation Department administered the RESTORE Program in conjunction with New Justice Services, Inc. RESTORE provided young men aged 16 to 21 in urban communities the opportunity to engage in educational, training, recreational and social networking activities. Classes conducted twice a week included instruction in economics, health, values and self-identity. A $50 stipend was provided to all who successfully completed the program; almost 46 percent of 224 referrals graduated. By the end of the program 43 enrollees had found gainful employment, 30 had entered an educational program and 53 had reduced the term of probation by six months.
In 2007, Onandaga County conducted 1,556 hours of community supervision and 445 home visits, which resulted in the detection of 317 violations of probation. This department also provided resources involving GED programs, computer training, counseling, and recreational services. Since 1999, Onandaga Couty Probation Department has been transitioning from a centralized program to a distributed model which assigns officers to facilities within communities. Probation officers are available one day a week at these Community Reporting Offices, where probationers must visit.
How to Become a Probation Officer in Syracuse, New York
The minimum qualifications for those interested in learning how to become a probation officer in Syracuse and other parts of Onondaga County, New York are:
- Bachelor’s degree and two years of experience in probation, parole, psychology, or social welfare
- Master’s degree in education, social work, administration, sociology, law, or criminology
Candidates must take and pass the civil service exam offered through the Onondaga County Probation Department. This exam is offered only every two to four years. Upon successful completion of the exam, candidates will be added to the list of potential hires. If an opening occurs, only the applicants with the top three scores will be contacted. There are also a limited number of probation officer trainee positions which may be available and may facilitate employment as a full officer.
New hires must meet the following criteria:
- U.S. citizenship
- New York driver’s license
- Available personal motor vehicle
- Ability to work late or night shifts
- Ability to carry and use a firearm
Newly hired officers must enroll in and complete the basic peace officer training program within six months of hiring. This course will provide instruction in firearms training and must be supplemented with 21 hours of additional training annually. New officers must also complete the two week Fundamentals of Probation Practice course.