I believe that arming Washington County Probation Officers will enhance public confidence and increase officer safety.
Back in the day, the traditional role of a Probation Officer was much like that of a social worker assisting in the rehabilitation of the probationer. But times have changed. Today the role is much more of a law enforcement one.
Today’s Probation Officer’s caseload mix has many more serious felons than the past, many of which are repeat felons. This is mainly due to early release and liberal courts more concerned about the perpetrator’s rights than the victim’s rights.
In the days of old, these persons would not even be back on the streets. You only have to watch the nightly news to see evidence where bad actors think it is their right to get in the face of and challenge the authority of a law enforcement officer. Yes, when I was young, I admit that I too was Smart-Alec in this regard more than once, but now I am a bit more mature.
Probation Officers make unannounced home visits to enforce the terms of a convicted person’s probation. Can you imagine the potentially volatile reaction that can occur when it is discovered that the person is in violation, subject to arrest by an unarmed Probation Officer with possible re-imprisonment? Would you want to do that job and not be armed?
Washington County Probation Officers are already highly trained Peace Officers that meet the same stringent firearm training requirements as the Sheriff Deputies. I feel that it would be almost criminal not to arm them as this seriously risks the officer’s safety.