Probation Officer Career in Cuyahoga County, Ohio

As the second largest city in Ohio, Cleveland provides many opportunities for prospective probation officers.  Located in Cuyahoga County, the most populous county in the state, probation officer jobs are available through the Cleveland Municipal Court as well as the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.

According to the Annual Report of the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, the total number of probations in 2011 was 8,023 with 6,844 under supervision for felony convictions and 1,179 under supervision for misdemeanor convictions.  The number of probationers in the county has remained relatively unchanged throughout the previous decade with the lowest number of probationers in 2005 with 7,556 and the most in 2001 with 8,638.

Cuyahoga County’s Probation System

Cuyahoga County courts utilize a progressive evidence-based probation system that evaluates offenders for mental health and substance abuse. The Probation Department Laboratory tested almost 87,031 samples of urine, hair and saliva in 2011, which is a sharp decline from its peak of 128,304 in 2004. The Mental Health-Developmental Disabilities Unit provides specialized services to offenders suffering from major psychotic disorders like schizophrenia and dissociative disorders. This unit also works closely with the Mental Health Court Docket to identify offenders with special needs early in the judicial process.

In response to the growing problem of chemical dependency, Cuyahoga County implemented the Treatment Alternatives to Street Crime program in 1992.  This program offers employment and treatment options to offenders.  TASC provide treatment for drug addicts and alcoholics through intensive outpatient systems as well as residential programs.

How to Become a Probation Officer in Cuyahoga County, Ohio

The minimum educational requirement to become a probation officer in Cuyahoga County is a bachelor’s degree in social sciences or a related field.  This job also requires at least one year of experience in parole, probation or counseling.  Job openings may arise only on occasion, so the competition for these jobs may be quite intense; it is often advisable to obtain an advanced degree such as a Master of Social Work or MBA in order to enhance selection.  A master’s degree is also a requirement for executive positions, and may be beneficial in salary determination.

Applicants are expected to have the following competencies:

  • Outstanding verbal and written communication skills
  • Knowledge of the probation and court system
  • Analytical problem solving
  • Basic knowledge of Ohio Criminal Law and court policies

Candidates may be asked to take a written test and provide proof of education and employer references. A valid Ohio driver’s license is required.  Interviews and a thorough background investigation will also be conducted.

Probation Officer Training in Cuyahoga County

If hired, new probation officers must complete all of the courses within the New Probation Officer Training Catalog within 12 months.  These courses include:

  • Courtroom presentation basics
  • Probation officer communication skills
  • Behavioral management
  • Assessment basics
  • Automated data systems
  • Drug identification and testing
  • Special populations
  • Officer safety
  • Ethics

Following the first year, all probation officers are required to obtain 20 hours of ongoing training annually.

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