By Melissa Pinion-Whitt, The (San Bernardino County) Sun
Posted: 07/03/2012 07:37:49 AM PDT
The San Bernardino County Probation Department has assigned seven officers to Inland Empire law enforcement agencies to handle offenders released from prison under a state program to reduce inmate overcrowding.
The assignments, effective Saturday, bring the number of probation officers working at police and sheriff’s stations to 25, as the county works to deal with thousands of released offenders, once in state custody.
With more probation officers, local police departments can better keep track of those offenders, police and county probation officials said.
“The real purpose is to make sure they’re at the disposal of that law enforcement agency,” said Chris Condon, Probation Department spokesman.
The officers are assigned to police departments in Upland, San Bernardino, Rialto and the San Bernardino County sheriff’s Chino Hills and two Victorville stations.
One officer will be assigned to the Twin Peaks and Big Bear sheriff’s stations.
Eighteen officers were assigned before June – based on a jurisdiction’s crime rate and number of offenders.
The new officers will focus on 50 of the highest-risk former inmates in the cities in which the officers are working. Probationers are considered high-risk based on past criminal history and whether they represent a risk to the community.
The officers will also work during probation sweeps and other operations. Most are considered veterans in law enforcement.
“Very often, they are officers who have worked in that jurisdiction,” Condon said.
Through the state’s release program – known as AB109 or prison realignment – thousands of offenders who could have ended up in state prison are being placed in county jails or other programs in order to meet a June 2013 deadline to reduce the prison population by 30,000.
Of the 3,054 people released on supervised probation in San Bernardino County since October, more than 600 have since been arrested on suspicion of new felonies or misdemeanors.
The county’s recidivism rate among people on supervised probation is about 24 percent, Condon said.
More probation staff is part of a larger San Bernardino County effort to deal with convicts under realignment.
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