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Getting to top 10 in corrections: Re-imagining training

Friday, February 14, 2020

Probation and Parole limited commissioning academy

Above: James Rudek, Oklahoma Department of Corrections Director of Director of Community Corrections and Probation and Parole Services, swears in the men and women who graduated recently from an innovative academy that gets more officers on the streets, assisting their colleagues in the field. The new PPOs have a limited commissioning, enabling them to perform more work in the field than their predecessors, until they earn their full law enforcement commission.

WILSON, Okla. – A new training tactic is fast tracking probation and parole officers to the field, providing relief to employees and greater services to Oklahomans.

As part of Gov. Kevin Stitt’s drive to make Oklahoma a top-10 state for corrections, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections is adding manpower to its Probation and Parole Division in a unique way.

The agency now provides future Probation and Parole Officers abbreviated training, providing vital support in the field for PPOs.

Sixteen future PPOs recently graduated from the abbreviated probation and parole academy developed by the division’s training team. The group now has a “limited commission,” allowing them to conduct field work with a commissioned officer. These limited-commissioned staff cannot join scheduled searches or make prearranged arrests. After at least six months of hands-on field work, they will advance to the full CLEET academy for certification.

“Ideas like this are how we make Oklahoma a top-ten state in corrections,” ODOC Director Scott Crow said. “As our state’s leaders continue to look at the kinds of offenders we incarcerate, community supervision becomes more critical to maintaining the balance between public safety and providing offenders with an opportunity for positive change.”

The group completed 16 hours of defensive tactics, 40 hours of firearms training and 40 hours of Probation & Parole Academy curriculum. For comparison, the full certification training for a Probation and Parole Officer is nearly 600 hours of peace officer skills, as well as 80 hours of job-specific training.

“This type of out-of-the-box thinking is exactly what the state needs to reimagine its correctional and community supervision system,” said T. Hastings Siegfried, chairman of ODOC’s appointed governing body, the Oklahoma Board of Corrections. “There is nothing more important than ensuring the men and women keeping track of offenders in our communities have the tools they need.”

 ODOC appreciates Carter County Sheriff Chris Bryant for allowing ODOC to use the county’s gun range.

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