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U.S. Probation Officer - Brownsville, Texas


Posted: 4/10/2019
Job Status: Full Time
Job Reference #: 2411348

Job Description

Overall Job Objective

Position Overview

The U.S. Probation Office for the Southern District of Texas is seeking qualified candidates for the position of U.S. Probation Officer in our Brownsville, Texas office.  All applicants will be considered, however, applicants with at least two years of recent probation, parole or law enforcement investigation experience are preferred. More than one position may be filled.

By statute, probation officers are appointed by the district court, and assist in the administration of justice and promote community safety, gather information, supervise offenders, interact with collateral agencies, prepare reports, conduct investigations, and present recommendations to the court. Officers may guide the work of other staff.  The incumbent conducts investigations, provides recommendations to the court, and supervises offenders.

The duties specified herein are intended to provide generalized examples of the major duties and responsibilities that are performed by a U.S. Probation Officer within any unit and do not reflect all duties performed by positions covered by this classification.
Starting salary depends on qualifications and experience:

Entry Level (CL25)       Experienced (CL27)
$42,855                 $49,772

Representative Duties

  • Conduct investigations, prepare reports, and make recommendations to the court. Interview offenders/defendants and their families, and collect background data from various sources. Interpret and apply policies, procedures, and statutes, Federal Rules of Criminal Procedures, and U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, Monographs, and relevant case law, as applicable.
  • Enforce court-ordered supervision components and implement supervision strategies. Maintain personal contact with defendants and offenders. Investigate employment, sources of income, lifestyle, and associates to assess risk and compliance. Address substance abuse, mental health, domestic violence, and similar problems and work with appropriate specialist to implement necessary treatment or violation proceedings, through assessment, monitoring, and counseling.
  • Schedule and conduct drug use detection tests and DNA collection of offenders/defendants, following established procedures and protocols. Maintain paper and computerized records of test results. Maintain chain of custody of urinalysis testing materials. Respond to judicial officers' requests for information and advice. Testify in court as to the basis for factual findings and guideline applications, as warranted. Serve as a resource to the court. Maintain detailed written records of case activity.
  • Investigate and analyze financial documents and activities and take appropriate action. Interview victim(s) and provide victim impact statements to the court. Ensure compliance with Mandatory Victims Restitution Act. Enforce home confinement conditions ordered by the court, and perform home confinement reintegration on behalf of the Bureau of Prisons, as applicable.
  • Review and resolve disputed issues involving offenders/defendants and present unresolved issues to the court for resolution. Assess offenders'/defendants' level of risk and develop a blend of risk management strategies for controlling and correcting risk.
  • Provide offenders/defendants with information on local resources and programs regarding employment, GED certification assistance, ongoing education, and vocational training. Identify interests, aptitudes, and abilities of offenders/defendants through interviewing and gathering appropriate information. Work with offenders/defendants toward integration into the job market through cross-training, mentoring, and the use of up-to-date technology.
  • Communicate with other organizations and personnel (such as U.S. Parole Commission, Bureau of Prisons, law enforcement, treatment agencies, and attorneys) concerning offenders'/defendants' behavior and conditions of supervision. Identify and investigate violations and implement appropriate alternatives and sanctions. Discuss violations with Supervisory Officer. Report violations of the conditions of supervision to the appropriate authorities. Prepare written reports of violation matters, and make recommendations for disposition. Conduct Parole Commission preliminary interviews. Guide the work of staff providing administrative and technical assistance to officers.


Entry Level Probation Officer Requirements

Requires a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university in a field of academic study such as criminal justice, criminology, psychology, sociology, human relations, business, public administration, political science, or other discipline which provides evidence of the capacity to understand and apply the legal requirements and human relations skills involved in the work of the position of probation officer.

Preference given to candidates who have obtained one or more of the following academic achievements:
a) An overall "B" GPA (2.90+ out of a possible 4.0);
b) Standing in the upper 1/3 of class;
c) 3.5+ GPA in the major field of study;
d) Membership in Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma XI, or one of the National Honorary Scholastic Societies meeting the minimum requirements of the Association of College Honor Societies, other than Freshman Honor Societies;
e) Completion of one academic year (30 semester or 45 quarter hours) of graduate work in a field of study closely related to the position.

Experienced Probation Officer Requirements

In addition to the above, requires at least two years of specialized experience or completion of a master's degree in a field closely related to the position or Juris Doctor (JD) degree. Specialized experience is: progressively responsible experience gained after completion of a bachelor's degree, in such fields as probation, pretrial services, parole, corrections, criminal investigations, or work in substance/addiction treatment. Experience as a police, custodial, or security officer, other than any criminal investigative experience, is not creditable.

All Levels of Probation Officer Positions

Require the ability to communicate well orally and in writing.  Ability to organize, oversee, and complete multiple projects simultaneously, with limited supervision. Ability to maintain confidences, exercise mature judgment, and work harmoniously with others.  Dependable, with a commitment to regular attendance. Knowledge of court operations.

Bilingual (Spanish/English) skills are preferred. Working knowledge of computer software such as Microsoft Office Suite (including Word and Excel), Adobe Acrobat, WordPerfect and Windows is required.


Physical Requirements

The duties of probation officers require the investigation and management of criminal defendants/offenders who can present physical danger to officers and to the public. In the supervision, treatment, and control of these defendants/offenders, these duties require moderate to arduous physical exercise, including prolonged periods of walking and standing, physical dexterity and coordination necessary to operate a firearm, and use of self-defense tactics. On a daily basis, these officers face unusual mental and physical stress because they are subject to danger and possible harm during frequent, direct contact with individuals who are convicted of committing Federal offenses.

Because officers must effectively deal with physical attacks and are subject to moderate to arduous physical exertion, applicants must be physically capable. Officers must possess, with or without corrective lenses, good distance vision in at least one eye and the ability to read normal size print. Normal hearing ability, with or without a hearing aid, is also required. In most instances, the amputation of an arm, hand, leg or foot will not disqualify an applicant from appointment, however, severe health problems or physical defects that constitute employment hazards to the applicant or others, may disqualify an applicant.
Maximum Entry Age

First time appointees to positions covered under law enforcement officer retirement provisions must not have reached their 37th birthday at the time of appointment. Applicants 37 or over who have previous law enforcement experience under the Federal Employees' Retirement System and who have either a subsequent break in service or intervening service in a non-law enforcement officer position may have their previous law enforcement officer experience subtracted from their age to determine whether they meet the maximum age requirement.

Background Investigation, Drug Screening and Medical Standards
First time appointees to the position of a U.S. Probation Officer must undergo an extensive OPM background investigation and drug screening. In addition, officers are subject to updated background investigations every five years and will be subject to random drug screening. If a provisional hire is authorized, applicants are also subject to a local background investigation and continued employment will be contingent on successful completion of the OPM investigation.
Prior to appointment, final selectees undergo a medical examination and drug screening. Upon successful completion of the medical examination and drug screening, selectees may be appointed provisionally, pending a favorable determination by the court.

Testing and Interview Process

After the closing date, some qualified applicants will be invited to test. If you are selected to test and for an initial interview and you live outside the immediate area, arrangements may be made to accommodate testing/interview from a remote location.  However, if you are selected for a final interview, you must attend in person at your own expense.  All communication will be via email. 

The selection process for a U.S. Probation Officer can take 6-9 months.  Due to the high volume of applications received, we will only communicate with those qualified applicants who are selected to advance through the process.  If you are not notified, other applicants were selected.

Other Information

Employees of the United States Courts are not included in the government's Civil Service classification.  They are, however, entitled to the same benefits as other federal government employees.  This position is subject to mandatory electronic funds transfer participation for payment of net pay.  The court reserves the right to modify the conditions of this announcement, withdraw the announcement, or fill the position at any time before the closing date, any of which may occur without prior written notice.

Employees of the federal judiciary must be U.S. Citizens or able to prove that they are actively seeking citizenship.  Visit www.uscourts.gov for more information on the citizenship requirement.