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  1. #1
    16cats Guest

    Los Angeles County Probation hiring process, continuous filings

    I am a newbie here, and I am seeking some information about the Los Angeles County Probation Department hiring process. I am female, and I will be 42 yrs. by the time I finish my bachelor's degree next spring. I expect to start looking for P.O. positions by May of '08.

    I have a question about the continuous filing aspect of the opportunity. Not too many probation departments are recruiting in SoCal right now, and I am curious as to why LA County has a continuous filing going on right now. Is it because of high turn-over or is just that they do not have enough qualified applicants at this time? I appreciate any insight our members can give me....
    Last edited by 16cats; 06-11-2007 at 13:16. Reason: spelling

  2. #2
    Kahuna5150's Avatar
    Kahuna5150 is offline Da' Kine Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by 16cats View Post
    I have a question about the continuous filing aspect of the opportunity. Not too many probation departments are recruiting in SoCal right now, and I am curious as to why LA County has a continuous filing going on right now.
    I can't answer for LA specifically, but I think you'll find in many (if not most) large metro areas they keep continuous filings open for many positions. Not sure what the retirement for probation is, but with the 3% @50 benefit most LE agencies have, there are often lots of retirements quite frequently.

    Probation Officers have also been traditionally paid quite a bit less (at least here in CA) than their police officer counterparts. This is especially interesting as most police departments require a high school diploma while probation wants a 4-year college degree.

    Many POs who start as POs soon find their counterparts (often working closely with local LE agencies) make just enough money more than them that they sometimes leave probation for local LE. Other folks find the job is not for them...

    Even with moderate turnover and a great working environment, the applicant pools is only going to yield so many qualified folks. You have to be qualified with education, be able to pass all of the testing (including physical), as well as have a clean *BACKGROUND*. The background and maybe the psychological exam are probably the two areas most folks get washed...

    So even though they may have 1000 applications a year submitted during the continuous filing, lots of folks won't show up on test day (some have lost interest, others have been hired somewhere else, etc). Even if 700 show up and take the test, by the time you weed out the low scores, background issues, etc, etc, you're down to a relatively small pool. As hard as it is to get qualified folks through all the steps, continuous filing just keeps the pool deep enough to have *SOME* water (applicants) left once the majority of the water is drained.



    Kahuna
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  3. #3
    nsedet's Avatar
    nsedet is offline Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kahuna5150 View Post
    Probation Officers have also been traditionally paid quite a bit less (at least here in CA) than their police officer counterparts. This is especially interesting as most police departments require a high school diploma while probation wants a 4-year college degree.
    I never dealt with LA County, but based on what I know about county probation in general throughout California I would think they would also lose people to state and federal probation pretty regularly.

  4. #4
    16cats Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Kahuna5150 View Post
    I can't answer for LA specifically, but I think you'll find in many (if not most) large metro areas they keep continuous filings open for many positions. Not sure what the retirement for probation is, but with the 3% @50 benefit most LE agencies have, there are often lots of retirements quite frequently.

    Probation Officers have also been traditionally paid quite a bit less (at least here in CA) than their police officer counterparts. This is especially interesting as most police departments require a high school diploma while probation wants a 4-year college degree.

    Many POs who start as POs soon find their counterparts (often working closely with local LE agencies) make just enough money more than them that they sometimes leave probation for local LE. Other folks find the job is not for them...

    Even with moderate turnover and a great working environment, the applicant pools is only going to yield so many qualified folks. You have to be qualified with education, be able to pass all of the testing (including physical), as well as have a clean *BACKGROUND*. The background and maybe the psychological exam are probably the two areas most folks get washed...

    So even though they may have 1000 applications a year submitted during the continuous filing, lots of folks won't show up on test day (some have lost interest, others have been hired somewhere else, etc). Even if 700 show up and take the test, by the time you weed out the low scores, background issues, etc, etc, you're down to a relatively small pool. As hard as it is to get qualified folks through all the steps, continuous filing just keeps the pool deep enough to have *SOME* water (applicants) left once the majority of the water is drained.



    Kahuna

    Yes Kahuna, I am very aware of the pay discrepancies when it comes to having a degree; and really that is in any field today it would seem. In all actuality I am not so concerned about the pay rate, that's about # 5 or 6 on my list.

    I'm just looking for some clarification as to why it is a continuous filing and trying to get an idea as to how many P.O.s they need and what my chances are to get in. I mean I'm old (older) than many of the applicants I am sure, but I do have some experience in the detention (jailer) area of things, and as a reserve cop some twenty-odd years ago.

    No doubt also there is consistent turnover to the feds for probation, but unfortunately or not I am too old for the feds. Within the state of California also probation is handled by the counties, and not the state. Parole would be nice, but Dept. of Corrections in California only hires within the department for parole agents, and I have no interest in going back into the lock-ups (been there done that).

    Anyway, if anyone else can provide some additional information I would appreciate it. Within one year I expect to begin the process, but I'm researching it first.

  5. #5
    Kelly828 Guest
    16cats,

    Unfortunately, I work state probation/parole (we're combined here) on the "wrong" coast to help you out at all. I could comment about the huge advantages, and caveats, to probation work but every single state seems so different policy-wise, in my experience. I do, however, wish you the best of luck in your endeavors!

    ~~Kelly

  6. #6
    askme is offline Officer
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    i believe there's always continious filing because they are trying to get enough applicants for the next testing cycle. and probably because they are short handed so there's no deadlines. you might have to wait when you submit your app. i believe most agencies wait for a certain number of apps to start the process. so it's like a cycle.
    failure is not an option

  7. #7
    16cats Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Kelly828 View Post
    16cats,

    Unfortunately, I work state probation/parole (we're combined here) on the "wrong" coast to help you out at all. I could comment about the huge advantages, and caveats, to probation work but every single state seems so different policy-wise, in my experience. I do, however, wish you the best of luck in your endeavors!

    ~~Kelly
    Well please do tell Kelly!! Even though you are over there any insight you can give me about what proabtion work is like. I am definitely interested in working with offenders in a counseling type capacity, and have thought it out for some time. It would be a very good fit for me, although I have some worries that I may be a bit too "old" for some departments, although I have some experience in corrections and LE.

  8. #8
    16cats Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by askme View Post
    i believe there's always continious filing because they are trying to get enough applicants for the next testing cycle. and probably because they are short handed so there's no deadlines. you might have to wait when you submit your app. i believe most agencies wait for a certain number of apps to start the process. so it's like a cycle.
    Yes I am learning that many agencies are significantly understaffed and are having hard time finding qualified applicants. As of now, I do have to wait anyway because I won't have my B.A. until spring of '08. I would think that LA County would still be looking for people by then; I'm just attempting to ascertain as to how many bodies they need. LA County seems to be the probation agency in SoCal that is actively looking right now. Orange County is only taking laterals, San Bernardino is not taking apps for Dep PO, but Riverside is looking for entry level POs. Riverside is a possibility too, but some of the assignments may be too far away for my liking.

  9. #9
    Kelly828 Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by 16cats View Post
    Well please do tell Kelly!! Even though you are over there any insight you can give me about what proabtion work is like. I am definitely interested in working with offenders in a counseling type capacity, and have thought it out for some time. It would be a very good fit for me, although I have some worries that I may be a bit too "old" for some departments, although I have some experience in corrections and LE.
    Cats,

    Well, you kind of proved my point. I would hardly call myself a counselor, but as I posted, every state's probation paradigm is different. Some states consider PO's a type of social worker, do not carry weapons, do not have powers of arrest, and make few home/field contacts. In other states, PO's are considered public safety officers or law enforcement officers.

    If you're interested in counseling, I would definitely make sure I knew the mindset and policies of the department I was applying with first. You may get offered a job and report that first day ready to have lengthy counseling sessions with offenders only to be scheduled for basic training, firearms qualification and bullet proof vest fitting! So know the work you're applying for. It's my understanding that CA probation is county level so each county could have a totally different way of doing things?

    In North Carolina, PO's are public safety officers with the power to arrest, search, seize evidence. Most of us are firearms carrying officers with the exception of entry level PO's whose jobs are primarily to work intake processing in the courts. We are field/home contact heavy and shifts vary from the traditional 8-5 to second shifts like 1-10 or 3-midnight. The closest to counseling I get is when I perform a "good cop, bad cop" routine with a partner on an offender who has tested positive (yet again) for meth or crack. My drug cases (users not dealers) go to substance abuse counseling so I leave the mental health work to that counselor. I probably have a fairly balanced routine of positive and negative reinforcement but again, I just don't delve too deep into an offender's psyche.

    After almost 6 years of doing this, the best advice I can offer is to not expect a lot from offenders. Try your best, of course, because being a positive influence can make a difference you may never even know about. But, probation officers deal with a LOT of hardened criminals who cannot comprehend living a different way. Try hard but expect nothing. That way, the 3 or 4 that do actually "get it" and come back to visit a few years later will be special to you.

    Oh, and for pete's sake, be able to defend yourself. I've been attacked in various forms ranging from having a stapler from a desk thrown at me to a 300lb. woman running through a screen door after me. One word should actually sum it up: pitbulls.

    Now don't you wanna be a PO?
    Seriously, every day is something new. I've loved most days. And since you'll ask, the days that I come home miserable have been mostly due to rediculous outcomes in court after violation hearings. Not the job itself usually.

    You're welcome to PM. I'll be glad to help if/however I can with your questions.

    _Kelly

  10. #10
    modareguy's Avatar
    modareguy is offline Sergeant
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    I have worked extensively with LA County Probation officers while on a muti-agency task force. A few things to consider specific to the LA County Probation Department. An overwhelming majority (over 95%) of the probation officers are NOT armed while on-duty. They have an armed team called "DISARM" which deal with some of the more violent probationers. Another point to consider is that they do not receive a law enforcement retirement. Both could be considered deal breakers for some folks, but I have to point out that I have had VERY positive experiences working with numerous officers from their agency, especially those from the DISARM team.

    Forget world peace, try using a turn signal...

  11. #11
    16cats Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Kelly828 View Post
    Cats,

    Well, you kind of proved my point. I would hardly call myself a counselor, but as I posted, every state's probation paradigm is different. Some states consider PO's a type of social worker, do not carry weapons, do not have powers of arrest, and make few home/field contacts. In other states, PO's are considered public safety officers or law enforcement officers.

    If you're interested in counseling, I would definitely make sure I knew the mindset and policies of the department I was applying with first. You may get offered a job and report that first day ready to have lengthy counseling sessions with offenders only to be scheduled for basic training, firearms qualification and bullet proof vest fitting! So know the work you're applying for. It's my understanding that CA probation is county level so each county could have a totally different way of doing things?

    In North Carolina, PO's are public safety officers with the power to arrest, search, seize evidence. Most of us are firearms carrying officers with the exception of entry level PO's whose jobs are primarily to work intake processing in the courts. We are field/home contact heavy and shifts vary from the traditional 8-5 to second shifts like 1-10 or 3-midnight. The closest to counseling I get is when I perform a "good cop, bad cop" routine with a partner on an offender who has tested positive (yet again) for meth or crack. My drug cases (users not dealers) go to substance abuse counseling so I leave the mental health work to that counselor. I probably have a fairly balanced routine of positive and negative reinforcement but again, I just don't delve too deep into an offender's psyche.

    After almost 6 years of doing this, the best advice I can offer is to not expect a lot from offenders. Try your best, of course, because being a positive influence can make a difference you may never even know about. But, probation officers deal with a LOT of hardened criminals who cannot comprehend living a different way. Try hard but expect nothing. That way, the 3 or 4 that do actually "get it" and come back to visit a few years later will be special to you.

    Oh, and for pete's sake, be able to defend yourself. I've been attacked in various forms ranging from having a stapler from a desk thrown at me to a 300lb. woman running through a screen door after me. One word should actually sum it up: pitbulls.

    Now don't you wanna be a PO?
    Seriously, every day is something new. I've loved most days. And since you'll ask, the days that I come home miserable have been mostly due to rediculous outcomes in court after violation hearings. Not the job itself usually.

    You're welcome to PM. I'll be glad to help if/however I can with your questions.

    _Kelly

    Understood Kelly. My experience in the jail and on the street definitely gave me an understanding of the mindset of offenders. I have been called every name in the book, and have had to use my training to defend myself in so many different ways. I appreciate the insight you have passed along to me, and I am intrigued. Thanks again!!

  12. #12
    16cats Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by modareguy View Post
    I have worked extensively with LA County Probation officers while on a muti-agency task force. A few things to consider specific to the LA County Probation Department. An overwhelming majority (over 95%) of the probation officers are NOT armed while on-duty. They have an armed team called "DISARM" which deal with some of the more violent probationers. Another point to consider is that they do not receive a law enforcement retirement. Both could be considered deal breakers for some folks, but I have to point out that I have had VERY positive experiences working with numerous officers from their agency, especially those from the DISARM team.
    Yeah being unarmed is a huge drawback, and I am researching that some more. That may explain some of the problems they are having with recruitment. The department has had some problems and I am learning the caseload is up to 1000 per PO. I am not sure how true that is, but that just seems mind blowing. As for retirement packages, that is interesting information, and while I do know LEs get pretty good benefits, I am not wholly concerned with that as much, but I appreciate the info. Right now I am just trying to ascertain how many bodies they need, hiring process & working environment. I have no doubt though they have some great people working there, I would think that number one to do so takes PATIENCE.


 

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