Categorized | Crime, Local

Siskiyou County Probation Department Gets Down to Business

 

‘Vigilant Supervison’ is Top Priority For Clients and Community

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Four probation PRCS (Post Release Community Supervision) offenders were booked in the Siskiyou County Jail Friday when law enforcement officials conducted
surprise probation compliance checks during the evening
at 12 residences in Yreka, Montague and Grenada on 13
probation offenders.

CO1The operation – led by officials from the Siskiyou County Probation Department in conjunction with the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office, Yreka Police Department, the California Department of Justice and Mount Shasta Police Department – marked the second surprise compliance check to be carried out in the county since the enactment of Assembly Bill 109.

Todd Heie,  Siskiyou County Chief Probation Officer, believes active supervision of probationers by their assigned probation officers is crucial for the safety of the community and the rehabilitation of the offender.  He also noted that AB 109 provides funding for the overtime pay of law enforcement officers who conduct the surprise compliance checks.

 

Vigilant Compliance

sisky badgeHeie said these compliance checks show probation/PRCS offenders that the probation department is vigilant about ensuring they remain in compliance with the terms of their supervision.  The department is serious about officers getting away from their desks and into the field, and knowing their clients’ behaviors, whereabouts, and activities at all times.

“It is important for probation offenders to know that we don’t just work from eight to five, and they have to comply with their terms.  We go into their residences at any time,” added Deputy Probation Officer Susan George who carries the entire county’s PRCS probation caseload.

All probation offenders must follow various terms of their release, such as regularly meeting with their probation officer in person, following all laws, allowing home visits at any time of the day, and submitting to random searches of their residences to ensure compliance.  Some are required to undergo drug testing and many are prohibited from consuming or possessing alcoholic beverages.  Medical marijuana is permitted if the probationer carries a medical doctor’s recommendation.

Jennifer Villani, the probation department’s Adult Division Director, said that the compliance checks entail a search of probation offenders’ general living quarters and all prescription drugs to ensure prescriptions match the contents in the bottles.  If applicable, offenders believed to be under the influence of a controlled substance may undergo sobriety tests and further drug testing.  As of yet, officers have not had to force entry into an offender’s home.

 

Probation Violation Arrests

siskiyouLaw enforcement officials conducted the compliance checks by dividing into three teams that searched four residences each.  District 4 Siskiyou County Supervisor Grace Bennett accompanied one of the teams to observe the operation.

Felony charges of possession of narcotics are pending against two of the four probation/PRCS offenders who were jailed Friday, said Villani.  However, she noted that those are not prison-eligible felony charges.  They will be held without bail for the duration of their court proceedings for
the new charges.

All four of those arrested will be required to remain under the probation department’s supervision for a full three years, Villani said.

She explained that probation/PRCS offenders are eligible for termination of supervision after six months if they have not violated any of the terms of their release.  If they do not have any formal violations (which are defined as charges that require PRCS offenders to appear in court), by law, they are automatically terminated from supervision after 12 months.

prob offRichard Grant, 45, of Yreka, was arrested after a team arrived at his home and he reportedly admitted to officers that he had been drinking alcohol. Officers conducted a breathalyzer test and alleged that he had a blood alcohol level of .06.

Chief Probation Officer Heie commented that many probation offenders start drinking at 5 p.m. because they think probation officers have gone home for the night and won’t be checking on them.

“You are in violation of your terms for being under the influence of alcohol,” Deputy Probation Officer Amy Fernandez told Grant as she placed him in handcuffs.

Probation Officers conducted a search of Grant’s trailer and allegedly confiscated opiates and spoons which Villani said appeared to contain narcotic residue and a cross bow.

Grant was charged with being in violation of PRCS and possession of narcotics.

The residence of probationer Joanne Johnson, 54, of Yreka, was among those searched, and officers reportedly discovered methamphetamine.  She was booked in the jail, and a felony charge of possession of narcotics is pending in addition to her PRCS violation charge.

prob off1When officers knocked on the door of probationer James Crawford’s home, he was reportedly engaged in a physical altercation with another individual.  Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Jacques Morlet said deputies broke up the fight, and Crawford was booked in jail for violating the terms of his supervision by allegedly being under the influence of alcohol.

Villani said Crawford’s supervision has been formally revoked due to a previous violation, so he will remain under supervision for three years.

The residence of Niles Tulledo,  32, of Grenada,
was one of the last to be searched.  Tulledo sat
listlessly in a chair while officers searched the residence.  The first alleged find was a small stash of marijuana, which Tulledo told deputies had been left behind by a family member who has a medical marijuana recommendation.

“I haven’t gotten stoned since 2005,” said Tulledo. “I don’t even like weed.”

Deputies discovered a syringe without a needle in the garbage can, and Tulledo’s girlfriend told deputies that it belonged to her. She said she uses syringes for her arts and crafts projects.

Deputies explained that possession of a syringe is a violation of the terms of Tulledo’s supervision.  In addition, a narcotics pipe with what SCSO Deputy Louis Mero said appeared to be narcotic residue was discovered.

handycufsSCSO Deputy Charlie Nowdesha conducted a Drug Awareness Recognition (DAR) examination on Tulledo.  The examination included a series of tests on balance, body temperature and verbal abilities.  The results of the DAR gave deputies probable cause that Tulledo was under the influence of a controlled substance, said deputies.

While Tulledo was being led from the residence in handcuffs, his girlfriend shouted obscenities at deputies, who remained silent as they filed out the door.

When Tulledo was booked in jail, he was drug tested.  Officials are still awaiting the results of the toxicology test, although Villani said he was presumptively under the influence of methamphetamine, opiates and marijuana.

 

Professional Officers

puzzleFollowing the operation, Siskiyou County Supervisor Bennett commented, “I was very impressed by how professional the probation officers and deputies were when conducting their searches.”  She said she observed that deputies were conscientious about leaving tidy piles and returning items to their boxes and drawers following the search.

“I am extremely proud of how law enforcement officers conducted themselves during the compliance checks,” commented Villani.  “I think we are doing our due diligence in assisting with the rehabilitation of these offenders by conducting compliance checks, and it is important for us to see what they are doing after hours.”

Villani added that the probation department wants to see probationers be successful in their efforts to rehabilitate;  however, she commented, “We are realistic that there will be violations.”

“We remain actively vigilant supervising our probation clients, taking the burden off of law enforcement when possible, and providing for the safety of our community,” Siskiyou County Chief Probation Officer Heie said.

* * * * * * * *

If only Humboldt County could follow suit.

The Mount Shasta News, Redding Spotlight, and Siskiyou News contributed to this report.

(Posted by Skippy Massey)

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