The Supreme Court of Appeals provides adult probation services in West Virginia. These services are organized at the level of the 31 judicial circuit offices in the state, including Kanawha County. Additional officers were recently hired to fill jobs in this office to replace probation officers that had moved on to the specialized sex offenders supervision unit.
Kanawha County’s probation officers work closely with community service agencies such as substance abuse facilities, day report centers, community service work providers, and various state agencies.
Probation officers in Kanawha County also work closely with the county Drug Court. In addition to drug offenses, this court also handles DUI cases. Typically, there are between 40 and 50 clients in this court at any given time. Kanawha County is part of Region IV of West Virginia’s sex offender supervision program. This Intensive Supervision Unit employs specialized probation officers who provide round the clock supervision of sex offenders in the county.
How to Become a Probation Officer in Kanawha County
Earn a Degree – A bachelor’s degree from a four-year college or university is required to become a probation officer in Kanawha County. The institution must be accredited in the region. Applicants must have majored in one of the behavioral sciences, criminal science, political science, or public administration. Additional requirements include taking a written test to be hired and providing a diploma or transcript along with the application.
Gain Experience – Applicants to the Intensive Supervision Unit are required to have three years of relevant experience in addition to their degree. This could be with a day report center or similar setting.
Participate in Training – Newly hired employees learn how to become probation officers in Kanawha County through 240 hours of training during their first year. Probation officers who carry handguns must receive specific firearms training, including at least four hours of handgun safety training.
Established probation officers are required to undergo forty hours of additional training each year.
Working as a Probation Officer in Kanawha County
According to West Virginia state legislation, probation officers in the state have a number of powers and duties. Their jobs involve:
- Investigating cases referred to them by the court
- Reporting on each case in writing
- Providing a summary to each person under supervision providing:
- Their conditions of probation
- Court rules for their supervision
- Staying informed about the conduct of each probationer
- Providing written reports on the conduct and conditions of every probationer when the court requests it
- Using all practical methods to aid and encourage the probationer in improving his or her status
- Maintaining detailed records of the probationer’s work