Terry Barnard, chairman of the State Board of Pardons and Paroles, told the new parole officers they are holding a unique law enforcement position.
“You have earned the right to wear the parole uniform and carry the badge that sets you apart from all others in the state. Not only will you have the responsibility to protect the greater public, but you will find yourself providing your parolees with counseling, advice and discipline,” said Barnard.
Barnard also urged the officers to make parole a career and start by mastering every part of being a parole officer.
For the first time, the Parole Board’s basic training class included 12 Juvenile Probation/Parole Officers who work for the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice. DJJ Commissioner Avery Niles also delivered remarks to the graduates.
The BPPOTC is an eight week training course resulting in all new officers being certified as Probation/Parole Officers by the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council. The course work includes supervision techniques, investigation procedures, intervention strategies, Georgia law, policy and procedure, interview skills, physical fitness, arrest procedures, defensive tactics, computer interaction and firearms qualification, as well as course work on effectively mediating a crisis situation involving an individual with a mental illness.
The Parole Board employs about 300 officers. The average parole caseload of offenders is 90.
Georgia parole utilizes a “Virtual Office.” As a result, Georgia’s parole officers are supervising offenders in the community, full-time. The state vehicle serves as the parole office and is equipped with all necessary technology. Parole officers no longer report to a physical office location.