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Federal P.O. Position

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  • Federal P.O. Position

    Anyone work for the US Courts (Federal Probation Officer)? I am looking at applying for this position and was wondering if anyone could shed some light on what it entails. Perks, benefits, good pay? Is it worth applying for? I know you have to go to FLETC for a 6-week course. Do they carry full time or just on-duty. Any help/thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance

  • #2
    sgt14:
    I will try my best to answer some questions, as I have been setting my sights on a USPO position for three years while I've been getting my Masters and have researched it in detail...

    All districts have their own Chief Probation Officer and he/she can individualize the district to their liking, within boundaries set by the Criminal Law Committee of the Judicial Branch of the U.S. Each district has its own budget and each chief does their own hiring. Many districts will have different offices that make up their district. For example, where I am, the Southern District of Ohio has offices in Cincinnati, Columbus, and Dayton Ohio. Some districts are combined, which means the pretrial and probation offices are together. Others are separated where the pretrial and probation offices are separate entities. Within the probation offices, their are "generalists" who do basic supervision, different types of "specialists" that handle intense cases only in a specific specialty such as cases involving mental health, substance abuse, sex offenses, etc. There are also presentence specialists who conduct presentence investigations on those offenders already found guilty. They then write presentence reports based on their investigations and recommend a sentence to the judge.

    The pay is good, as a rule. The system has pay classes and multiple steps within those classes. For a probation officer position, I generally see a broad range of pay, normally from $45,000-$85,000 depending on qualifications. Of course, one can go higher than this during their tenure. Also, specialist positions pay higher. It is considered hazardous duty and USPO's get 6c retirement, although they do not get hazardous duty pay. The salaries, in my opinion, do compensate for this. You have to be in the system by 37 and mandatory retirement at 57. Benefits include pension, a 401k-type savings plan, life, health insurance, etc. A huge perk is that employees are not "assigned," meaning they stay at one location until they want to move elsewhere. No orders telling you that you are assigned halfway across the country and need to be there in two months. Therefore, it a good job to have if you are family-minded. If you do want to transfer elswhere, typically PO's already in the system have a huge advantage over those who aren't, but you still have to apply and interview with your new district.

    The decision to arm their officers is made by the Chief, but I have yet to come across the district where the officers are not. However, it is only when in the field-no offduty carry, and no carrying in the office. The choice to be armed in the field is each officer's choice-not mandatory. Most offices have g-rides for those going into the field to use, but no take-homes.

    The postions are extremely competitive and coveted. The officers are highly professional, as they are dealing with federal judges, the chief judge in each district is appointed by the president, I believe. Many applicants are highly qualified-I've seen applicants with masters degrees, military experience, professional mental health licensures, previous state parole or probation experience, etc. Morale seems to be very high, and I have yet to speak with a USPO that doesn't like his/her job and find it fascinating.

    Much of this info can be found at www.uscourts.gov. Click on "probation" in the middle on the left side...it explains a bunch. Then go to "employment". It shows pay tables. Then do a job search for "probation" and read the job postings. It will give you a good idea of what districts are looking for.

    Whew! Sorry for the long post but I tried to give you as much info as possible. Good luck with the job search and if you have any more questions I'd be happy to try and answer them.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by garrickk View Post
      . Many applicants are highly qualified-I've seen applicants with masters degrees, military experience, professional mental health licensures, previous state parole or probation experience, etc.
      The men and women that I have worked with out in the field (yes....they will go grab local LEOs to help out when they are looking for folks or are doing UA's at someone crib....and if they are hunting for folks, DUSMS are usually near by as well....so it makes for a fun time.... ) were top notch.

      All the ones I talked to had years and years of experience and most (if not all) had advanced Degrees on top of P&P Experience at the State Level, Military time, LEO time, or a combo of something like that.

      I know 4 years ago when KCMO had openings, over 400 people applied for 2 slots. Those slots were open because two folks retired around the same time after being in the office for over 20 years..... Once folks get into them.....they don't want to leave....

      As for being armed, as stated.....it's up to the local Chief. The guys in MO were all armed when they were out and about.....Have no clue about off-duty or in the office. All had G-Rides but for duty only. They parked them at the US Courthouse at night.....

      Good luck....

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      • #4
        I'm definitely interested in federal probation and i've been doing my research on them. my question is would you recommend someone to hire straight out of college or to get some LE experience under their belt? I obtain my Bachelor's in December and I will be attending grad school at John Jay in January, I'm 22yrs old, a female and I have 3yrs experience in Security/Loss Prevention. I was thinking of maybe applying for BOP and working there for a year or so and then trying to transfer to Probation. any thoughts?

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        • #5
          my wife is a uspo. although she has been on the job for almost a year, she is just now attending the academy. it is 5 weeks long in charleston fletc. she has 24-hr carry priviledges, but it is optional to carry on-duty or off. most of the people she works with is either prior state probation officers, have advanced degrees or language skills. no one has been hired right out of college in her office. one person applied that was a bop officer, but was not hired because she was not the most qualified. this may not be the case in other districts. my wife loves the job. the hours are flexible, no weekends or holidays and she will be able to work from home at least 1 day week very soon.

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          • #6
            I would like to thank EVERYONE who has posted back with their knowledge on this position. It has been EXTREMELY helpful. I appreciate it more than you know.

            THANKS AGAIN!

            Comment

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