The probation services for Yonkers, New York’s fourth largest city, is conducted through the Westchester County Department of Probation. The department also serves New Rochelle, the County Seat of White Plains, Peekskill and Mount Vernon. With more than 150 probation officers and supervising officers, this department oversees 2,000 juvenile cases and more than 11,000 adult cases each year. For the past twenty years, the Department of Probation has recovered $750,000 to $1 million annually in victim restitution. The Department of Probation works with the Family Courts, criminal courts, District Attorney’s office, criminal justice agencies and social service agencies to ensure that offenders are adequately supervised and prepared for re-entry into society.
About the Westchester County Department of Probation
This department has 158 probation officers and 25 supervising officers, with almost half able to speak English and Spanish. The department has 48 instructors who possess competencies in firearms, probation practices and other professional topics. Eleven of the 20 firearms instructors are FBI-trained. Two probation supervising officers have completed the Intensive Leadership Institute training sponsored by the APPA.
Within this department is the Bureau of Planning and Development, which collects departmental data, researches new initiatives and practices, implements new policies, and requests funding from federal, local and state agencies. This group has been instrumental in designing the department’s training programs, and developing specialized units like substance abuse, DWI, domestic violence, gangs and motivational interviewing. This bureau implemented a principals based system for probation:
- Assessment of risk and need
- Enhance motivation to change behavior
- Provide intervention
- Share improved life skills
- Positive reinforcement
- Access community support programs
- Measure program success
- Relay data and recommendations to staff
How To Become a Probation Officer in Westchester County, New York
Like all probation jobs in the state, jobs in Yonkers and throughout Westchester County requires successful completion of a civil service exam. These exams include multiple choice questions on the following topics:
- Principles and Procedures for Offender Counseling and Supervision—45 questions
- Preparing reports and documents—30 questions
The allotted time for this exam is six hours and thirty minutes. A study guide for this exam may be obtained from the New York State Department of Civil Service. It is important to research the next available civil service exam because it may only become available every four years.
In order to apply for probation officer jobs, applicants must also meet these criteria:
- U.S. citizen
- High school diploma
- Valid New York driver’s license
- At least 20 years of age
- Must reside within the county
- Ability to pass the Municipal Police Training Council
Military veterans and professionals from a law enforcement or corrections background may also receive special consideration during the selection process.
Within the first six months of employment, probation officer trainees are required to complete the two-week classroom training program Fundamentals of Probation Practice as well as the Municipal Police Training Council course. This course will provide certification as a New York peace officer and instruction in how to carry and use firearms. In following years, officers must maintain this training with 21 additional hours of instruction annually.