Overview and Minimum Qualifications

Challenging.  Rewarding.  Life-Changing.  Never a dull moment.

It’s a side of law enforcement that many people don’t know much about – a career in Probation and Parole (P&P).  P&P Officers are committed to providing public safety statewide through the investigation and supervision of adult criminal offenders through the provisions of probation, parole and pardon.  Officers supervise offenders who have either been sentenced to a period of probation or who have been released on parole after serving a portion of their prison sentence.  Officers are engaged in facilitating the offender’s adjustment and reintegration into society while, at the same time, ensuring justice and safety for the victim and the community by holding the offenders accountable for their actions.

The job of a Louisiana Probation and Parole Officer isn’t just about law enforcement, however.  Probation and Parole Officers truly make a difference by helping those trying to change their lives and better their communities.  As offenders reintegrate into society, it is the Probation and Parole Officer who monitors their progress to help ensure they remain on the right path.

A career as a Louisiana Probation and Parole Officer provides some of the most diverse work in the criminal justice system.  It would not be unusual for an officer to start out the day in court, go on residence checks in the middle part of the day and end with warrant sweep in tandem with other officers.  Potential job perks include flexible hours, continued career training, certified training instructors with premium pay and vehicles provided to perform official assigned duties,  just to name a few.

Are you a good fit for Louisiana Probation and Parole?

Probation and Parole Officer – Minimum Qualifications:

 

Salary and Benefits

Starting Pay

Position                                 PS Level                    Starting Salary                      Max. Salary  

P&P Officer 1                        PS 109                       $30,056*                                $57, 907

P&P Officer 2                        PS 110                       $32,156*                                $61,963

*This is a special entrance rate for Probation and Parole Officer 1 / 2.  If a candidate does not have prior employment with the state of Louisiana, the annual pay will be starting salary.

Benefits

Typically, P&P offices are open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. but officers (with approval) may work outside those hours as necessary to meet job requirements or to have some flexibility with family or other important responsibilities. 

 

Duties and Responsibilities

A Probation and Parole Officer’s job is based in the community that they serve, working in and with the community to aid offenders in becoming productive citizens.  The job is part social work, part law enforcement.

When an offender is released from prison, it is the P&P officer that assists him with his transition back into society.  This is done by identifying and addressing the needs of the offender so that they complete their supervision successfully without violations, new convictions, or returning to prison.  The officer does the same with cases placed on probation.  This is done by utilizing tools to assess their needs and by working with community resource providers.  While officers are given many tools to assist with helping offenders become productive law abiding citizens, there will always be some individuals who aren’t open to changing criminal behavior.  These offenders pose a risk to the public safety and it is then that officers must perform their law enforcement duties.

The tasks of Probation and Parole Officers vary from day to day.  Officers are typically going to the residences of those on supervision to check on the well-being of the offender as well as their compliance with conditions ordered by judges or the Parole Board.  A typical day may include speaking with judges, attorneys, offenders at the local jail facility, treatment counselors, and other law enforcement personnel.  An officer may spend time transporting a prisoner, investigating violations, testifying in court, and executing warrants.  However, the main task of the officer is the face to face contact with offenders and the documentation of those interactions. 

Duties include:

 

Hiring Process

All Probation and Parole Officer vacancies are posted on the Louisiana Department of Civil Service website.  Simply select the “DOC – Adult Probation and Parole” box under the “Agencies” section.

  1. Take the Professional Level Exam administered the Louisiana Department of State Civil Service.  Candidates must create an account on the Civil Service website to register for the exam and receive a passing score to be considered.   The Louisiana Office of State Civil Service offers six testing locations throughout the state. The PLE may only be scheduled once or twice a month (on Saturdays) in many locations. However, it is offered in Baton Rouge every day of the week, excluding weekends and holidays.
  2. Complete an application and apply for PPO 1.
  3. All applications will be reviewed for eligibility so it is important to take the PLE prior to application.  Applications are sent to the district office the applicant is interested in applying (21 throughout the state).
  4. Applicants will be required to pass a physical fitness assessment (in accordance with Cooper Fitness Standards) and must sign a release of liability.
  5. Applicants must have their physician complete a physical fitness assessment form.
  6. District Office will complete a criminal background check on candidate.
  7. The P&P District Office will then schedule an interview with the candidate provided all of the above requirements are satisfactorily met.
  8. Candidate will then be required to undergo a full physical.
  9. Candidate will be required to undergo a law enforcement suitability assessment.

 

Academy Life and Continued Training

Upon being granted an employment offer, cadets will be required to report to their local District Office (Monday – Friday) until the next Academy starts (offered twice a year).  Cadets are paid while waiting for the Academy to begin.  The 14-week academy is located in Baton Rouge, LA.  During this time, cadets will reside (Sunday evenings through Friday afternoons) in lodging provided by the Department.  Your District Office may issue you a State vehicle to commute from your District to the Academy.  Cadets check out of the lodging on Fridays and check back in on Sunday afternoons.  In all likelihood you will have a roommate of the same gender.

During the Academy, cadets will receive training and become certified in the following areas:

Failure to pass the certifications will result in termination from the Academy.

Cadets are required to participate in daily group physical fitness exercises and required to keep a daily log.  Additionally, a typed notebook consisting of daily logs and classroom notes is required to be submitted at the end of the Academy.

While at the Academy, cadets are required to wear a uniform.  The Department will issue two shirts for each cadet.  Cadets will be responsible to purchase their own tan pants, black shoes, athletic shoes, navy athletic shorts, white t-shirts, spandex shorts to wear under shorts, and duty belt.

Each Academy has a President, Vice President, Historian, and Chaplain – all elected by their fellow cadets.

For some, the toughest part about the Academy is being away from home.  You will be away for three months, excluding much of the weekend.  Technology such as Facetime/ Skype makes it a little easier to adapt.

All meals are provided.  Rooms are to be cleaned out every Friday when you check out. When the training day is over, cadets have free time until the start of training the next day.  There are no curfews.

The Academy is very diverse.  Ages range from early 20’s to 40 plus, with a good mix of males and females.  For some, this will be their first job while others will be working on a second career. 

During defensive tactics training, cadets are taught to protect themselves against common types of resistance.  Cadets are required to qualify and carry a firearm as well as to participate in all physical aspects of the Academy.  You will have the opportunity to form lifetime bonds with your fellow cadets.  Think of the Academy as one big family. You will be living with your fellow cadets for 14 weeks – you will get to know each other very well.

Instructors (largely comprised of highly-skilled, veteran P&P officers and supervisors from Districts around the state) are there to teach and help each cadet through the Academy.  They are knowledgeable and eager to assist in any way they can.  Cadets will be pushed to and beyond your limits, mentally and physically, in efforts to prepare you for the job that awaits you after the Academy.

Mandatory Continued Training:

Elective Continued Training:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

What is the difference between probation and parole?

Both terms refer to community supervision of convicted felons by officers employed as Probation & Parole Officers.  Probation is afforded to certain offenders after pleading guilty and receiving a deferred or suspended sentence.  Probation is under the jurisdiction of the court and sentencing judge.  Parole is supervision of offenders after having served a portion of their sentence in prison and the jurisdiction falls under the Committee on Parole.  An individual on parole has served prison time for their conviction while someone on probation has not.

What is the average number of cases supervised by an officer?

There are many variables that affect caseload size and therefore it varies somewhat from district to district.  A small caseload consists of 120 cases.  While this may seem high, officers utilize a risk/needs assessment to determine what cases need more resources.  Cases are then assigned a supervision level in order to assist the officer with prioritizing their time. 

What are the requirements to be an officer? 

Applicants must have a baccalaureate degree or a combination of work experience and college credit, a valid Louisiana driver’s license, a willingness and ability to handle and carry firearms, and willingness and ability to complete the Police Officers Standards and Training (POST) academy.  An applicant convicted of a misdemeanor crime of violence or a felony, or who is under indictment on a felony charge will be disqualified until relief from the disabilities imposed by the state and federal laws is granted.

Do officers receive training?

Yes.  Officers are required to attend a 14 week academy located in Baton Rouge to obtain their POST certification.  Housing and meals are provided Monday through Friday while in the academy.  Once graduated, officers will be required to complete 240 hours of on-the-job training by a senior staff member.  Officers are then required to complete 40 hours of in-service training.  This annual training includes: firearms, defensive tactics, tactical survival, CPR/First Aid, and various miscellaneous training.  Officers are also required to attend an additional 16 hours of firearms and defensive tactics training each year.

What is the starting salary for an officer?

$2504.67 monthly or $30,056.04 yearly.  Please refer to the Salary and Benefits section for more information.

What are the work hours and is it required to work nights and weekends?

Each district office is open from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday.  Once training requirements are fulfilled, officers are afforded the ability to work flexible hours.  Each officer must report to the district office twice a week during business hours.  Officers are afforded three days a week to conduct their field duties.  Hours worked on these days can be flexible and at the discretion of the officer, with approval from their supervisor. 

What about vacation?

Officers earn leave based on time of service.  For the first two years of employment, officers earn approximately 1 day per month of annual leave and 1 day per month of sick leave.  After 15 years of service, officers earn leave at the rate of 2 days per month of both annual and sick leave.  This leave can be saved and carried from year to year.

What if I am in the military?

The division of Probation and Parole is supportive of those with military obligations.  Up to 15 days of paid leave is provided in meeting the military obligations.

Is there retirement?

The retirement is a pension as opposed to a 401K plan offered by private businesses.  Officers can retire after 25 years of employment at any age and can begin drawing from their retirement at age 50.  The accrual rate is 3 1/3% for each year of service.  As the job is classified as hazardous duty, this accrual rate is higher than the 2 ½% earned by rank and file state employees.  There are also retirement programs available such as Deferred Compensation Plan. Various retirement options are available upon eligibility to retire.

What equipment will I be issued or have to purchase?

Some of the equipment issued to officers includes: handgun and holster, bullet proof vest, handcuffs, and baton.  There is very little needed equipment that is not issued, or available for use by officers.  Officers are also issued a laptop computer for utilizing the offender management system.

Does the state provide health insurance?

The state of Louisiana provides various types of health insurance depending on the needs of the individual.  Whether one is looking for health insurance for themselves or for their entire family, there are programs available.  The state of Louisiana also pays 75% of the monthly health insurance premium.  Miscellaneous insurance policies are also available such as dental, accident, cancer, life, etc.