The North Carolina Department of Corrections has designated Mecklenburg County as District 26 in Division IV. The largest city in North Carolina—Charlotte—is found here in Mecklenburg and is the area in which most probation and parole officer jobs in the state are found. The North Carolina Department of Public Safety authorizes officers to supervise both parolees and probationers, and thus labels supervising officers as Probation and Parole Officers (PPO).
In 2012, there were 7,223 offenders under parole or probation supervision in Mecklenburg County, with 22,604 supervisees in the entire division. There were 103 PPOs working in District 26 and each of these officers carried an average caseload of about 70 offenders.
Requirements to Become a Probation and Parole Officer in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina
The basic requirements to become a probation and parole officer in Mecklenburg County are:
- U.S. citizenship
- Bachelor’s degree in one of the following degree fields:
- Social work
- Criminal justice
- Correctional services
- Human services
- Two years of experience in probation or parole services
Some areas may provide trainee positions at diminished salaries to well qualified candidates without the professional experience requirement. It may also be possible to satisfy this requirement with a master’s or doctor’s degree in a related field of study.
Following submission of applications to the Department of Corrections, applicants should be prepared for a background investigation, medical and psychological evaluations, and an interview. Felony convictions or domestic violence convictions are disqualifying factors.
Probation/Parole Officer Basic Training
Upon hiring, new PPOs must complete a 217 hour Probation/Parole Officer Basic Training Program that is five weeks in length. Topics covered include
- Case management
- Probation and parole law
- Court participation
- Drug identification
- Handgun safety and use
- Defensive protection
- Arrest, search and seizure
- Radio communication
Following completion of this program, officers must meet qualifying standards for firearms use and successfully complete a written exam. Upon qualification, new officers will receive certification from the state of North Carolina as peace officers. Following the first year, PPOs must maintain their certification with 44 hours of additional training each year.
What to Expect from PPO Jobs in Mecklenburg County
PPOs utilize eight principles in the process of supervising offenders.
- Target interventions
- Strengthen intrinsic motivation
- Assess needs and risks
- Develop skills through directed repetition
- Utilize positive reinforcement
- Access community resources
- Measure process success
- Provide feedback
Mecklenburg is home to several courts that assist in identifying offenders with serious drug or alcohol abuse problems. The Adult Drug Treatment Court, Family Drug Treatment Court, Youth Drug Treatment Court, and a Mental Health Court are located in this county and have an assigned PPO to liaise with judicial staff and offender populations.
PPOs in this district are also involved in the School Partnership Program, which increases interaction with students, counselors, teachers and staff at schools in order to improve the progress of students who are under supervised probation.