Probation Officer Career in Brookings County, South Dakota

The probation services for Brookings County – including the cities of Brookings, Aurora and Bushnell – are conducted by the Third Circuit Court of the South Dakota Unified Judicial System.  The Department of Court Services works in conjunction with six circuit court judges and one magistrate judge.  There are currently three Court Services Officers and one Chief CSO providing community supervision in Brookings County.

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In 2011, the Unified Judicial System reported that the Third Circuit Department of Court Services conducted 22 pre-sentencing investigations that resulted in a sentence of misdemeanor probation, while 362 pre-sentencing investigations led to a sentence of felony probation.  Seventeen new misdemeanor probation cases were added in 2011, while 155 felony probation cases were added.  By year’s end, the Department of Court Services was actively supervising 26 misdemeanor probationers and 361 felony probationers.  Almost $110,000 in restitution had been collected during 2011 from misdemeanor offenders, while about $255,000 had been collected from felony offenders.

This county only added six additional probationers to the Intensive Probation Program during 2011.  That year, eight probationers successfully completed Intensive Probation, while two failed and were re-incarcerated.  By the end of the year, only three participants were in the Intensive Probation Program.  The Interstate Compact program, which supervises probationers sentenced in other jurisdictions, had added 43 new cases, with a year-end total of 83 active cases.

Becoming a Probation Officer in Brookings County, South Dakota: Education
and Training

Due to the relatively small workforce of Court Services Officers in Brookings County, jobs with probation services providers may be competitive.  In order to optimize the likelihood of obtaining a CSO job when an opening becomes available, prospective candidates should strongly consider strengthening their application profile.

One of the key strategies for improving the chances of obtaining probation officer jobs in Brookings County is to establish a strong academic background.  Although the Unified Judicial System mandates that the minimum education requirement is a bachelor’s degree in psychology, sociology or the social or behavioral sciences, it may be quite beneficial to obtain a graduate degree such as a Master of Social Work or Juris Doctor.  Not only is an advanced degree likely to enhance hiring potential, but it is also likely to accelerate the pace of promotion and satisfy any experience requirements.

The Department of Court Services also grants preference to professionals who have prior experience in one of these fields:

  • Parole
  • Probation
  • Counseling
  • Social casework

While there may be few opportunities to obtain this experience through paid employment, it is possible to gain some through internships or volunteer opportunities.

Upon hiring, new Court Services Officers must complete the 28 hour job orientation course.  Upon completion of this course, graduates will receive CSO certification allowing them to effectively become probation officers in Brookings County.

This certification must be maintained by completing 16 additional hours of training each year.

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