Probation Officers Participate in Mock Child Abduction Exercises in Monroe County
The purpose of the Child Abduction Response Team (CART) is to address the growing need for a multiagency response to child abductions throughout Florida, and Circuit 16 is proud to be a part of this vital team.
The Florida Department of Corrections is represented on the Monroe County CART Team by Nina Lopez-Cantera, Correctional Probation Supervisor, and Barbara Stroud, Parole and Probation Specialist at the 162 office and Cheryl Blythe, Correctional Probation Specialist at the 16-0 office.
Supervisor Lopez-Cantera and Specialist Blythe participate in "mock child abduction" exercises with other law enforcement members and are responsible for contacting sex offenders in the field and at their residences.
They are assisted by other members of the Monroe County CART Team, which includes the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), the Dept. of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, State Attorney's Office, K9 Police, Key West Police Department, Border Patrol, veterinarians, victim advocates, Fish and Wildlife, US Navy, and public citizen volunteers.
Specialist Stroud prepares display posters of all sex offenders and predators in Monroe County with their locations marked on a map. These posters display photos of all sex offenders and are taken to the Mobile Command Center along with FDLE website photos and demographics for distribution.
Circuit 17 Helps Offenders "Dress for Success" When Interviewing
An interview applicant's appearance is a key factor to potential employers when evaluating an applicant, and Circuit 17 teamed up with the nonprofit Positive Images, Inc., to make sure offenders have access to clothing appropriate for job interviews. On June 10, 2011, Circuit 17 Probation and Parole Supervisor Claudine Francis, along with 13 committee members, organized a professional suit drive that would spread from Circuit 17 to Circuit 11.
The committee members are Officer Babette Davis; Officer Allison Brooks, Officer Charia Morgan, Officer Edwin Bruno; Officer Tanya Bascombe; Officer Clarissa Grissette; Word Processing Systems Operator (WPSO) Susan Gravel; WPSO Sheletha Marcelin; Officer Sharola Newby; Officer Jennifer Hartley; Supervisor John Cooper; Supervisor Robin Bryant; and Supervisor Edith Williams-Robinson. Each probation office donated clothing to help men and women in need "dress for success" for their next job interview.
The professional suit drive ended their collection efforts with a Re-Entry luncheon where a sample of the thousand collected suits were displayed on mannequins. The Re-Entry luncheon was in collaboration with the Department of Corrections and Florida Council on Crime and Delinquency (Chapter 4), and coordinated by the Professional Suit Drive committee of Circuit 17. The two hour training focused on "A Probation Officer's Role in Re-Entry."
Melbourne and Palm Bay P&P Staff Support Local Domestic Violence Shelter
Throughout the second week of October 2010 the Melbourne and Palm Bay Offices held "Domestic Violence Awareness" fundraising functions at their respective offices. The goal was to generate awareness and obtain donations from staff for Brevard County's Serene Harbor Domestic Violence Shelter. The offices definitely came through!
They delivered numerous bags and boxes filled with items that the shelter desperately needed, including dry food goods, towels and linens, cleaning supplies, and toiletry items. The shelter, open since 1992, can accommodate 20 women and their children. Shelter Manager Hilda Morales said that, even if all beds are full, they will "make it work" if there is a woman in need or an emergency situation arises. The shelter offers numerous services to assist their clients and will help with probation requirements and transportation.
Our staff was very impressed with the security, cleanliness, and organization of the shelter, but most of all with what they are doing to help those women in volatile domestic violence situations. Even in these uncertain economic times, our DC family came through for the families in the Brevard County community.
Journey Forward Program Targets Jail Inmates with Drug Issues to help them Succeed on Probation
Each month Circuit 19 Probation Officers go to the local jails and meet with the inmates who are in the drug dorms as part of a program called "Journey Forward" established by Public Defender Diamond Litty and Sheriff Ken Mascara.
In the morning, they meet with the female population and in the afternoon, the male population. Community Corrections is just one segment of "Journey Forward," whose overall goal is to break the cycle of recidivism. Staff discuss probation and parole with the inmates and how to succeed on supervision. Discussions include the role of the probation officer, the offender's role while on supervision, what tools they need to succeed on supervision, and general information about community corrections.
Circuit 19 staff is proud to be a part of this evidence based re-entry efforts taking place in their communities.
Curfew Check in Punta Gorda Nets Drugs, Cash
On Friday, February, 18, 2011, CPSO Scott White, along with CPSS Jim Depoy of the Punta Gorda office, were making routine curfew checks when they came upon drugs and cash at an offender's home. Upon entering the home, White and Depoy immediately noticed a strong smell of marijuana. The offender attempted to lead the officers to his sister's bedroom where he claimed he lived; however, the officers weren't fooled and redirected him to the spare room where the odor was coming from.
Upon entering, in plain view on the bed was $24,000 in cash and on the desk was four pounds of marijuana. No search was conducted since all was in plain sight, and the offender was placed under arrest for Violation of Probation (VOP). Narcotics detectives were called to the scene and upon arrival and after some discussion, the owner of the home, the offender's mother, gave consent for the Sheriff's detectives to conduct their own search. The offender now has additional felony charges as well as the violation of probation charge.