The Second Circuit Court, Department of Court Services, manages the probation services in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and throughout Minnehaha County. This department currently employs 27 staff that includes 20 Court Services Officers, five support staff, a Deputy Chief Court Service Officer and a Chief Court Services Officer. The Department of Court Services for Sioux Falls and Minnehaha County currently supervises almost 750 adults and about 600 juveniles.
In 2011, the Second Circuit had almost 632 offenders newly placed on probation and collected almost $375,000 in restitution fees. By years end, there were 900 offenders on felony probation and 144 on misdemeanor probation. Of these offenders only 34 were place on Intensive Supervision, with 24 of these failing the program and returned to detention.
Education and Training to Become a Probation Officer in Minnehaha County
Probation officers in Minnehaha County must possess a bachelor’s degree, with a concentration in a human science field preferred. Candidates are also expected to have at least two years of experience in a related profession including social work, substance abuse recovery or other human behavioral management occupation. In some cases, this experience may be satisfied with a master’s, or JD degree. Competition for these positions may be quite intense, so applicants are urged to obtain community supervision experience through internships, trainee positions, or volunteer activities.
Candidates interested in learning how to become a probation officer in Sioux Falls and throughout Minnehaha County should also meet the following requirements:
- Possession of a valid driver’s license
- Possession of a motor vehicle
- Good distance vision in at least one eye, and ability to read standard size print
- Near normal hearing
- Be a U.S. citizen
- Between 21 and 37 years of age
- Ability to pass a background investigation
- Ability to pass a drug test
Once hired, new Court Services Officers are required to complete the 28 hour basic training program and obtain certification as a CSO. Following the first year, 16 years of additional training is required annually.
Impacts on Minnehaha County’s Probation System
The metropolitan Sioux Falls region is one of the fastest growing areas in the Midwest with a projected growth rate of 2.4 percent annually. In coming years this should lead to a burgeoning population along with the social issues commonly found in conjunction with rapid growth: crime, delinquency and poverty. Much of this growth is attributable to South Dakota’s growing dominance in the oil shale industry. These factors should contribute to a growing need for probation officers as the criminal population increases.
The Department of Court Services conducts a variety of community supervision services including Interstate Compact, drug testing, electronic home monitoring, payment collection and alcohol monitoring. This Department also handles pre-sentence investigations for adults and juveniles. Almost 45 PSIs are completed monthly, which usually include personal histories, criminal records, and interviewing of social contacts.