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Judge James Fox concerned over budget cuts

Full Article

Fox 28
Author: Amanda Skrzypchak


Recent budget cuts to the Juvenile Justice Center of St. Joseph County has probate Judge James Fox worried about the area’s at risk youth. The center was asked to cut three percent of the remainder of their 2014 budget, forking over nearly 160,000 dollars.

The center is expected to cut even more in 2015.

In January, the center was ranked first with 44 inmates. Executive Director of the St. Joseph County probate court for the Juvenile Justice Center, Pete Morgan, credits the drop in it’s inmate population to the Juvenile Detention Alternative initiative.

Former probation official William Burke asks for court-appointed lawyer to handle appeals

Full Article

The Republican
September 5, 2014
Author: Shira Schoenberg

Former Probation Department deputy commissioner William Burke has gone into debt to pay the legal bills related to his trial for helping to run a rigged hiring scheme at the Massachusetts Probation Department, according to a court filing by his attorney, John Amabile. He is now asking for a court-appointed attorney.

Burke was convicted in July of racketeering conspiracy for his role in a scheme in which top probation officials hired job candidates based on political connections, not merit, in order to get better budgets and legislative favors for the Probation Department, then lied on forms certifying the hires were done correctly.

Justice Brent Dickson Receives POPAI Founder’s Award


thumb-faPOPAI is honored to announce the 2014 Founder’s Award was presented to Justice Brent E. Dickson of the Indiana Supreme Court.

The POPAI Founder’s Award recognizes individuals who have significantly contributed to the field of probation in general and specifically to the POPAI organization and who are characterized by their commitment of influence and promotion of professionalism to Indiana probation.  Without question, Justice Dickson’s leadership has been an asset to the judiciary in Indiana.  He has also been a champion advocating for increased state-level resources for probation.  He has proven to be a fierce supporter of evidence-based practices in probation.

Justice Dickson was appointed to the Indiana Supreme Court in January 1986.  He became Chief Justice of Indiana on May 15, 2012 when former Chief Justice Randall Shepard retired.

Justice Dickson has proven to be an effective leader.  He has demonstrated a longstanding interest in fostering civility.  In his remarks during his swearing-in as Chief Justice, he stated, “We are determined to ‘wage civility’ at every opportunity—in the collegiality of our own deliberations, in the mutual respect expressed in our majority and dissenting opinions, and in our outreach to enhance civility in lawyers and trial judges.  In our administrative responsibilities, we are committed to continuing, with renewed energy, the Court’s best practices and openness to creative innovations, with fiscal responsibility.”

He served on the Indiana Criminal Code Evaluation Commission where he fully supported the focus on evidence-based practices that, as he stated “can make our criminal justice system more effective in protecting public safety, reducing repeat criminal activity, enabling offender reformation, and at the same time substantially reducing incarceration costs.”  He supported the resulting legislation, House Bill 1006.

During Justice Dickson’s’ first State of the Judiciary Address in 2013, he cited numerous ways in which he and the Indiana Supreme Court justices supported initiatives that improved probation in Indiana.  They supported deployment of the Odyssey Supervision (probation case management) System in counties that had requested the system and expressed the intent of the Supreme Court “to do everything we can to bring our Odyssey system as soon as possible to every county that wants it.”  He also noted the support of the Indiana Supreme Court for the new Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, a reform effort that strengthens the juvenile justice system by focusing on a variety of ways to reduce reliance on detention.“

In 2012 during his first year as Chief Justice, he advocated for increased funding and state level resources for probation in Indiana.  He was the first Indiana Chief Justice to request that the Indiana General Assembly include funding for probation officers in the Supreme Court’s budget.  Specifically, he requested funding for the salaries for all Indiana Chief Probation Officers.  Further, he requested that the Indiana General Assembly provide increased funding for probation officer training so that all probation officers in the state would have access to free training in evidence-based correctional practices.

Justice Dickson has been a strong supporter of evidence-based correctional practices.  He has been an advocate of the development of the Indiana Risk Assessment System and Indiana Youth Assessment System.  Justice Dickson was instrumental in including probation officers on the special task force that assisted the Supreme Court to adopt procedures to successfully implement the adult and juvenile risk assessment systems across the state.  He has also appointed probation officers on other important committees such as the committee that is working to implement a state system to utilize sanctions and reinforcers/incentives and the committee that is working to develop case plans in INcite.

In his final year as Chief Justice, he again sought to increase resources for probation in Indiana by requesting funds to pay the salaries for all county Chief Probation Officers.  This would be a first step toward increasing state support for Indiana probation.

Congratulations to Justice Dickson for receiving the 2014 Founder’s Award.

POPAI Presents Line PO of the Year Award to Dave Williams


davePOPAI proudly announces that the inaugural Line Probation Officer of the Year award was presented to Dave Williams of Hamilton County.

Dave started as a PO with Hamilton County in October 1997.  He supervised offenders and wrote Presentence Investigation Reports.

The letters of support sent on Dave’s behalf for this award state that Dave was outstanding in his probation officer duties.

In 2011, Hamilton County began using the Odyssey Probation Supervision system.  Dave worked closely with the Judicial Technology and Automation Committee (JTAC) to improve the functionality and capability of the Odyssey Supervision system.   Dave’s improvements to Odyssey has allowed the department to do research to determine if their correctional practices are reducing recidivism.

Dave has automated every adult and juvenile document used by the department.  He was instrumental in creating a “virtual library,” a place where all probation officers have easy and immediate access to all probation resources.

Dave was nominated for this award by his entire department and all of the local judges.  POPAI also received letters of support for his nomination from Chief Probation Officers around the state who expressed gratitude for Dave’s help with deploying the Odyssey Supervision system in their counties.

Congratulations to Dave for his selection as Line Probation Officer of the Year.

POPAI Presents Rookie PO of the Year Award to Melanie Strode


melaniePOPAI is proud to announce that the inaugural Rookie Probation Officer of the Year award was presented to Melanie Strode of Harrison County.

Melanie joined the Harrison County Superior Court Probation Department in November 2013.

The letters of support sent on Melanie’s behalf for this award state that Melanie has distinguished herself as a person with enthusiasm and a passion for guiding clients to a better path.  She is appropriately stern with her clients while being compassionate.

A client who reported to Melanie’s office under the influence of alcohol and who was held accountable by her sent a letter to her, thanking her for how she helped him to get back on the road to sobriety.

Melanie is a self-starter, takes initiative, and routinely asks her Chief PO for more work to gain experience.    Her Chief describes her as “outstanding.”

A co-worker of Melanie stated, “She will definitely be Probation Officer of the Year next!”

Congratulations to Melanie for her selection as Rookie Probation Officer of the Year.

POPAI “Members Only” Discussion Forum Now Ready


POPAI has just launched a “Members Only” discussion page.

We plan to start using this page to share policies, procedures, forms/templates, and general questions.   This “Members Only” area was requested by our membership and we’re glad to facilitate a good conversation. This addition is for your benefit, so please…..feel free to ask questions and suggest topics that will help you.

Also, we will be posting various important items such as draft legislation throughout the upcoming 2015 Legislative session.  This will be an important session as the biennial state budget will be passed.

POPAI has also been invited to participate in various groups that are advocating for more state funding for probation. We will be posting Minutes from these groups under this “Members Only” section.

As a starting place, POPAI will limit access to the “Members Only” area to Chief POs, Assistant Chief POs, Probation Supervisors, and other probation staff members who function in a management/supervisory capacity.

To participate, first and foremost, you must be a POPAI member.  We very much hope that ALL Chief POs participate in this “Members Only” discussion area so that we may exchange ideas, policies, procedures, programs and other important information.

This area is moderated and password protected for POPAI Members only.  Please report any questionable content our website administrator Karen Oeding.

To get started on our Member Discussion Page  POPAI Members are welcome to email Karen with your name and email address to register.  Karen will send you an email when she has verified your membership and added your information.

Contact Karen with questions or any Board Member with concerns.

We look forward to a lively discussion on any topic that you may raise!

Revised POPAI By-laws Approved, Membership Year to Change

Author: Linda Brady, POPAI President

Dear POPAI Membership:

The POPAI Bylaws were amended at the POPAI Annual business meeting on September 4, 2014.  The primary change to the by-laws involves the membership year.  See below.


It has become increasingly difficult for POPAI members, Chief Probation Officers, and office managers/bookkeepers to keep track of when POPAI membership dues must be paid. To make dues payments simpler to track, the POPAI by-laws have been revised so that the membership year will run on the calendar year starting January 1, 2015.

To encourage POPAI members  to pay their 2015 dues early,  2015 dues paid between September 1, 2014 and December 31, 2014 will extend membership until the end of 2014 AND through the full calendar year 2015.

You can review the revised POPAI Bylaws at the following link:  POPAI Bylaws 2014 APPROVED 9-4-14 FINAL


Judge Burge orders county to hire security for Adult Probation facilities (Lorian Co., Ohio)

Full Article

The Chronicle-Telegram
Author: Brad Dicken

ELYRIA — Lorain County Common Pleas Judge James Burge has ordered the county commissioners to provide $124,953 to cover projected security costs for the county’s Adult Probation Department forthe final three months of the year.

The money is to be turned over to county Sheriff Phil Stammitti by Sept. 13 so he can begin providing security at the entrances to the old Lorain County Courthouse and the old Columbia Gas Building, where the Probation Department has offices.

Burge said he expects the security would be in place around Oct. 1.

Stammitti has estimated that it would cost $396,356 per year to hire four full-time deputies and three part-time deputies and buy equipment to provide security at the two locations. The cost would drop by about $8,000 after the first year once the equipment is purchased.old Lorain County Courthouse on June 25.   Steve Manheim

Juvenile probation chief retiring after 30 years at department

Full Article

The Herald Bulletin
Author: Jack Molitor

ANDERSON — Katherine Holtzleiter recalls when she took over as chief of the Madison County Juvenile Probation Department 20 years ago. Her staff was so overwhelmed with physical paperwork they could hardly spend time with their clients.

imageWhen she leaves the department this week, it will be almost completely paperless.

Holtzleiter will wrap up her tenure as chief and 30 years at the department on Friday, and she said one of her proudest accomplishments was bringing the juvenile probation program into the digital era.

POPAI Members Only Discussion Forum


Visit our new Member Discussion Page to find and share policy and procedure documents or ask questions.

This addition is for your benefit so feel free to ask questions and suggest topics that will help you.

This area is moderated and password protected for POPAI Members only. Please report any questionable content to Karen.

Contact Karen with questions or any Board Member with concerns.

This area is one you requested and we’re glad to facilitate a good conversation.

Leaders: The 6 Golden Rules of Meeting Management

Full Article

Author: Don Jacobson

Meetings are unpopular because they take up time–usually that of many people. However, there are good meetings and there are bad meetings. Meetings can be an excellent use of time when they are well-run. Unfortunately, the converse is also true, and it seems that time-wasting, poorly run meetings are far too common.

This article describes 6 rules of meeting management that can help make meeting more productive and less frustrating. Each of the rules requires commitment from all participants. Continue reading →

Blood tests for DWI cases costing Hancock County

Full Article

Associated Press

In the hands of a jury, a simple blood test can mean the difference between a drunken-driver who is convicted and one who walks free.

With the popularity of crime dramas causing what public safety officials call “the CSI effect,” jurors today have come to expect law enforcement to provide irrefutable data in cases that go to trial.

But in drunken-driving cases, the same tests prosecutors say have become necessary to successfully convict are also draining an important county budget.

The prosecutor’s diversion fund, which covers the initial cost of blood tests given to suspected drunken drivers, received a $23,000 appropriation for 2014. That amount is nearly exhausted, Hancock County Prosecutor Michael Griffin told the Daily Reporter.

That’s due in part to rising costs for blood draws, but also because of an unexpected increase in the number of suspects who refuse the alternative, a breath test, after being stopped. A breath test is one of the most basic steps for measuring a person’s sobriety, and it doesn’t cost the county a dime; but when a person refuses to cooperate, the county must foot the bill to test their blood.