Jul 19, 2013 3:42 PM by MELISSA CANONE
LAFAYETTE, La. - Area elected officials, judges, district attorneys, law enforcement representatives, community partners and providers, and other stakeholders joined the LA Office of Juvenile Justice's (OJJ) Lafayette/Opelousas staff Friday to recognize the contributions of probation and parole officers (PPOs) to public safety and the wellbeing of at-risk youth and their families, in observance of the American Probation and Parole Association's (APPA) Probation, Parole and Community Supervision Week. The program was conducted at St. Paul's Church on Washington St.
APPA calls Probation, Parole and Community Supervision Week a time to recognize the dedicated and caring individuals in our community who work tirelessly to make neighborhoods safer by assisting juvenile offenders in becoming productive citizens. Probation and parole officers are "changing lives, building futures," one child at a time. Local officials attended the program to learn about the services that probation and parole officers provide and how those services impact public safety. At the Lafayette/Opelousas regional office, approximately 42 PPOs supervise more than 1500 youth per year.
PPOs provide an array of services to youth who have been adjudicated by a court as delinquent and placed on probation, or ruled in need of services. They supervise such youth, holding them accountable for meeting the requirements of their probation, and assist their families in accessing needed services. PPOs ensure that youth receive appropriate, individualized services, rely on their extensive training to provide crisis intervention in high risk situations and address specific risks to public safety. PPOs are POST-trained, meaning that they have completed a Peace Officer Standards and Training curriculum. They are often called upon to provide security or safety services during emergencies such as hurricanes.
"OJJ's probation and parole officers provide vital services to Louisiana's youth, family and to our citizens," said Deputy Secretary Dr. Mary L. Livers. "The work they do directly impacts youth and families, and they are responsible for helping to keep the number of youth placed in secure care, the juvenile equivalent of prison, at an all-time low for Louisiana. In fact, Louisiana was recently cited nationally for having one of the largest decreases in the number of youth placed in secure care facilities, and I attribute that in large part to the dedication and professionalism of our probation and parole officers."
"I particularly want to thank our community partners for joining us today to learn about the role of our PPOs and their contributions to the community," Dr. Livers concluded. "They are to be commended for taking time from their schedules to honor these hardworking, dedicated public servants, who are so vital to strong communities."