Probation officers who work in West Virginia work under the state’s Supreme Court of Appeals. They are distributed among the thirty-one judicial circuit offices in the state. In Berkeley County, probation officers are part of the 23rd Judicial Circuit. The Judicial Center in Martinsburg is home to seven probation officers, in addition to their chief.
Becoming a Probation Officer in Berkeley County
Education – Applicants who seek to obtain careers as probation officers in Berkeley County must have a bachelor’s degree in an area such as business or industrial management, human behavior, criminology, or political science. They must provide a diploma or transcripts to verify that they have such a degree.
Experience – Those seeking careers with the Intensive Supervision Unit have an additional requirement: three years working with a program that handles clients or offenders, such as a day report center.
Training – New employees learn how to become a probation officer in Berkeley County by receiving 240 hours of training their first year. Probation officers have the option of carrying handguns, and those who do so are required to have additional training that is comparable to that of West Virginia law enforcement officers. All probation officers are required to take part in an additional forty hours of training each year.
The Function of Probation Officers in Berkeley County
There are a number of aspects to the jobs of probation officers in Berkeley County. They involve:
- Initial investigations
- Drug screenings
- The preparation of pre-sentence reports
- The recommendation of sentences for offenders
- Monitoring those on probation or supervised release
- Close work with community agencies
The close relationship of probation officers to agencies in the community help offenders get treatment that they need, whether counseling for mental health, substance abuse treatment, or a combination of the two.
Sex offenders generally require more intensive supervision than most of the people on probation. Berkeley County is part of Region I of the Sex Offender Supervision Regions of West Virginia. Specialized probation officers take part in this type of intensive supervision. They have contact with their clients around the clock.