Officer to help keep tabs on probationers

Published 5:13 pm Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Clanton Police Department will hire two probation officers early next year to work with the municipal court system.

The officers will help keep tabs on the roughly 190 people on probation any given month and make sure court fines, fees and restitution are being paid, Police Chief Brian Stilwell said.

The municipal court is allowed to sentence people to probation for up to two years, Stilwell said.

A person not fulfilling the terms of their probation is a growing problem, Stilwell said. So far this year, 514 warrants have been issued for people not meeting their probation requirements.

For example, some people may stop paying fines, fees or restitution or someone might stop attending court-ordered programs like drivers’ school, Alcoholics Anonymous or community service.

Currently, if someone isn’t meeting the terms of their probation, the municipal court eventually issues a warrant for their arrest.

But the department is too under-manned to follow-up on many of these warrants, Stilwell said. Many are caught when pulled over for traffic offenses and officers discover a probation violation warrant is outstanding.

The new probation officers will work to address this problem by checking in with people on probation monthly and making sure all court orders are being followed.

Stilwell said the officers would hold people accountable and help them eventually get off probation.

The probation officers’ starting pay and job requirements are the same for any police officer, which are at least a high school diploma or GED and Alabama Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission certification. They will have full-arrest powers like any other officer, but will devote nearly all their time working with the municipal court, Stilwell said.

A full job description and position requirements can be found at Clanton City Hall or the Clanton Police Department.