Information verified October 12, 2005

Juvenile Probation

Local Juvenile Courts administer intake and probation services. By statute, the Juvenile Division of the Circuit Court must designate at least one juvenile intake officer and juvenile probation officer.

The juvenile intake and probation officers do not carry a firearm. They are not classified as peace officers and do not have the power to arrest. The Arkansas Attorney General issued Opinion Attorney General No. 92-333, which stated that there is no statutory authority for juvenile intake and probation officer to prevent or detect crime or enforce the laws of the state. Consequently, juvenile officers are not law enforcement officers and are not authorized to carry firearms.

From time to time the issue of arming is proposed in the legislature, but to date, no statutes have been passed.

There are no private companies providing juvenile probation supervision services.

Juvenile Parole

The Department of Human Services, Division of Youth Services (DYS) within the Executive Branch of government, provides juvenile aftercare services through contracts with private companies for a wide range of community-based services.

Contracts with these providers do not address the issue of arming aftercare officers. Juvenile aftercare officers do not carry a firearm. They are not classified, as peace officers have no arrest powers.

At the time of the survey, it was not under consideration to allow officers to carry a firearm.

There are some private companies that the Division of Youth Services contracts with to provide supervision and treatment services.

Adult Probation and Parole

The Arkansas Department of Community Correction handles parole and felony probation. Misdemeanors are disposed of by district courts. Each district judge has their own probation office (if they desire) and maintains complete control over that probation office. District court probation officers are not required to be law enforcement certified, but they cannot carry firearms if they are not certified. Among those who are certified, the district judge maintains complete discretion as to whether or not they can carry firearms.

Officers have been armed since 1995. They are certified law enforcement officers and do have the power to arrest.

Officers receive firearm education and are trained by trained probation staff. Training is tailored to meet the needs of probation and parole officers. All officers are required to proficiently complete the training prior to being allowed to carry a firearm. Officers receive continuing education and training. Re-qualification is done twice a year.

The officers are required to carry a .40 caliber that is provided by the state.

When Arkansas centralized their probation functions, two judges decided to maintain their own probation caseloads.

For updates or corrections to the information on this page, please contact: Diane Kincaid