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Court Services Officer Career in Pennington County, South Dakota

With 101,000 residents, Pennington County is the second most populous county in the state of South Dakota and the home of its second largest city, Rapid City.  The probationers in this county are supervised by Court Services Officers assigned to the Seventh Circuit Court.  Currently there are 21 CSOs, with four support staff, a Deputy Chief Court Services Officer and a Chief Court Services Officer.

In 2011, there were 586 new misdemeanor probation cases in the Seventh District with 815 active cases by the end of the year.  During this period, almost $230,255 was collected in restitution and 89 pre-sentencing reports resulted in misdemeanor probation sentences.  Almost 400 new felony probation cases were added during the year, with a year-end total of 892 felony cases. More than 800 pretrial investigations were completed that resulted in felony probation sentences, and almost $342,000 was collected in restitution from all felony offenders.

Within the Seventh Circuit Court’s jurisdiction, Court Services Officers supervise adult felony and misdemeanor probationers, adult Intensive Supervision cases, juvenile probationers and juvenile intensive cases.   During the course of performing these duties, CSOs may collect DNA samples, urine or hair samples for drug testing, conduct pre-sentencing or pre-dispositional investigations, make sentencing recommendations, utilize electronic monitoring devices and collect restitution or supervision fees.   In assessing the risk and needs of offenders, CSOs also utilize a validated assessment system that identifies criminogenic factors.

Requirements for Probation Officer Jobs in Pennington County, South Dakota

To obtain a position as a Court Services Officer in Pennington County, candidates must possess at least a bachelor’s degree, preferably in a field of human science, e.g. psychology, sociology, social work.  Two years of experience in a job that employs human behavior management is also required, but, in some instances, it may be possible to substitute an advanced degree like a Master of Social Work in place of professional experience.

Candidates interested in learning how to become probation officers in Pennington County should also possess the following qualifications:

  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Possess a valid driver’s license
  • Have access to a motor vehicle
  • Good distance vision in at least one eye without correction
  • Ability to read normal print
  • Near normal hearing
  • Be between 21 and 37 years of age

Job Orientation Program for Pennington County Probation Officers

After submitting an application, candidates must submit to a background investigation, medical examination and psychological evaluation.  A drug test will also be administered.

Upon hiring, new officers must complete the 28-hour job orientation program, following which they will be certified as South Dakota Court Services Officers.  The Seventh Circuit Department of Court Services also provides additional on-the-job training throughout the first year, and provides rigorous oversight of new officers during this probationary period.  CSOs must complete at least 16 hours of additional training following the first year in order to maintain this accreditation.

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