Probation Officer Career in Brown County, South Dakota

Brown County, South Dakota’s major cities of Aberdeen, Frederick, Groton and New Hope, contribute to making this one of the most important locations for probation and parole services in the state.  The Fifth Circuit Court of the South Dakota Unified Judicial System holds jurisdiction in Brown County, and its Department of Court Services manages probation services in the area.  The Department of Court Services has three offices in Aberdeen, Selby (Walworth County), and Sisseton (Roberts County).  The Aberdeen office is home to eight Court Services Officers (CSO), including the Chief CSO.

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The mission of the Fifth Circuit Court Department of Court Services is to help offenders leave the probation system better than they entered.   In order to facilitate this, Court Services Officers seek to provide services involving cognitive skills restructuring, alcohol and drug treatment, community service and restitution payments.  CSOs utilize various assessment tools to identify issues with each offender and seek to engage probationers through regular visits with the probationer, their families, and employers.

How to Become a Probation Officer in Brown County, South Dakota

Candidates for Court Services Officer jobs in Brown County should possess a bachelor’s degree in one of the following subjects:

  • Sociology
  • Psychology
  • Social sciences

With an annual salary exceeding $40,000 for CSO positions, the most competitive candidates are likely to also possess graduate degrees in social work, law, or human behavior management.

The Unified Judicial System also prefers that candidates interested in learning about how to become probation officers in Brown County have at least some experience in probation, parole or social casework management.

Candidates may wish to explore opportunities through internships, traineeships, and volunteering.   Several South Dakota organizations, including the U.S. District Courts, provide internship opportunities in probation and pretrial services. It is also advisable to seek out some experience in supervising juveniles, as CSOs in Brown County provide probation services for both adults and juveniles.

Orientation Program for New Hires

Upon hiring, new officers must complete a 28-hour orientation program that will award graduates with Court Services Officer certification.  Following this program, new officers may also receive on-the-job training and rigorous oversight during the first months in the field.  After the first year, new officers should receive 16 hours of additional training annually in order to maintain CSO certification.

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The Role of South Dakota’s Fifth Circuit

The Unified Judicial System reports that in 2011, South Dakota’s Fifth Circuit had three misdemeanor probation cases added to its schedule leading to a year-end total of seven.  Six pre-sentencing investigations resulted in misdemeanor probation sentences.  Almost $266,000 was collected in restitution from misdemeanor probationers.  During 2011, almost 164 new felony probationers were added, yielding a year-end total of 329 felony probationers. Sixty-six pre-sentencing investigations were completed that produced a felony probation sentence, and $212,000 was collected in restitution from these offenders.

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