Linda Proffitt decided to join a team when she picked her second career.
She picked some heavy hitters for that team; they have a serious goal: Saving a life.
“I don’t know where else that I could go that I would be able to work with the judge, the county attorney, the defense attorney and a healthcare provider as a team. Each and every one of them brings a different aspect into making sure everything of the best interest for that juvenile is covered.”
For the past year and a half, Proffitt has served as a juvenile probation officer for Gila County. She began after completing her criminal justice degree at the University of Phoenix.
Many areas of law enforcement are in the need of good workers in Arizona, thanks to growth and normal attrition.
Probation and parole officers, 911 dispatchers, detention officers and attorneys are all behind-the-scenes jobs with open positions, in addition to the need for more police officers.
The jobs not only provide a good income, but a good service to the community, said Dr. Hellen Carter, Chief Probation Officer for both adult and juvenile probation in Gila County as well as the architect behind the criminal justice program at the University of Phoenix.
Probation and parole officers are required to hold bachelor’s degrees in Arizona. County probation officers can supervise individuals after they come out of prison with a “probation tail,” Carter said.
“Probation is a great way to provide supervision and is a cost effective way to bring about positive change at approximately $2500 per year versus $25,000 per year for prison costs,” she said.
Parole officers supervise those on “community supervision” when the offender has been released into the community after serving a specified amount of time on their original sentence.
Proffitt’s job crosses many areas: From working with identified juveniles to working with at-risk students.
“It’s so versatile,” she said. “Not only am I a probation officer… you have the social worker part of it, but you also have the part where you get to work with these kids on a daily basis. One of the things with my job that I love is I’m getting the chance to go outside the box.”
“Many municipal departments are in need of police officers because of impending mandatory retirement for older officers,” said Det. Dwayne Young, who recruits for the Mesa Police Department.
Young started work in Mesa 17 years ago after moving from northern Utah. It was there that a family friend who worked in the Utah Highway Patrol introduced Young as a youth to the fi eld of law enforcement.
“He allowed me to go along with him one day. I said, ‘This is so much fun. I have to do this for a living,’” Young said.