On July 10, the Gila County Board of Supervisors proclaimed this week -- July 15-21 -- to be observed as Probation, Parole and Community Supervision Week.
For over 100 years, officers have been supervising offenders that are released to our communities. These often-unknown professionals dedicate their lives to serving crime victims and holding offenders accountable for the wrongs committed to our families, our friends and our communities. Through their commitment to public safety, Gila County is a safer place for all of us.
At the end of June 2007, there were over 1,100 adults and almost 250 juveniles in our communities supervised by the Probation Officers who work for the Gila County Superior Court. These officers are supported by a small contingent of even more unknown and unrecognized support staff.
These individuals are responsible for over two-thirds of the total offenders that are in custody in jails and prisons or under supervision in the community, yet they receive less than one-third of all funding allocated for supervision of these offenders. The challenges they face are tremendous. Nonetheless, they report to work on a daily basis to make a difference.
They make a difference through monitoring compliance and enforcing sanctions; by providing treatment, either directly or through referral to a specific provider; they develop partnerships with agencies and community groups to obtain assistance; they work every day to help victims recover their losses, to assist offenders in their efforts towards a law-abiding life and to ensure our communities are safe.
These are professionals who receive continuing training in the most current best-practice methods of offender supervision and community safety. They apply that knowledge in the most effective way possible every day. The work they do has become multifaceted. It now goes beyond the simple tasks of supervision and surveillance of offenders. It has expanded to include working with victims to ensure restorative justice principles are addressed; it involves team concepts of working with treatment providers; it means being called out at 2 a.m. because of an equipment malfunction of a GPS unit being worn by a sex offender.
These individuals do this on your behalf to ensure the highest levels of public safety are retained.
During this week, please help us honor and recognize the work these professionals do each and every day of the year. But beyond this week, we serve every day to ensure that Probation works in Gila County.
Frank A. Owens, Chief Probation Officer, Gila County Superior Court