Information Updated October 12, 2005

Juvenile Probation and Parole

Juvenile probation and conditional release (formerly called aftercare) are combined under the Department of Juvenile Justice, Probation and Community Corrections Branch. The Department is a part of the executive branch of the Florida state government.

It is mandatory for youth custody officers (YCO) to carry firearms. YCOs do not supervise a caseload. They work for the Director of Law Enforcement, Department of Juvenile Justice. YCOs carry out pick up orders on juveniles who fail to appear in court, warrants on juveniles in violation of home detention, violation of probation, and those in violation of post-commitment probation or conditional release. A Department of Juvenile Justice policy prohibits other juvenile supervision officers from carrying firearms and it was not under consideration at the time of the survey to allow them to carry firearms.

There was no specific incident that prompted YCOs to carry firearms. In 2000, the arming policy for YCOs took effect when Florida’s legislature appropriated 30 positions. Under this new legislative statute, YCOs are law enforcement officers with limited authority.

YCOs must undergo psychological testing and proficiently complete the firearm training prior to being allowed to carry a firearm. The local police academy and the Department of Juvenile Justice provide training in conjunction with the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission (CJCST). Employees in the Department of Juvenile Justice teach a portion of the training. CJCST instructors provide training in areas that are required for any law enforcement officer. They must re-qualify twice a year.

YCOs are required to carry a .40 caliber handgun that is provided by the Department of Juvenile Justice.

There are private companies in Florida that provide supervision services to juveniles under conditional release.

Adult Probation and Parole

Within the Executive Branch of state government, the Office of Community Corrections, Florida Department of Corrections manages statewide adult probation and parole supervision services. The agency supervises all adult felons and misdemeanants that were originally charged as felonies and sentenced from the circuit court. Offenders originally charged as misdemeanants placed on probation by county courts are supervised by county or private agencies.

It is optional for officers to carry a firearm. They are not classified as peace officers and can arrest those under their supervision with or without a warrant. Officers do not undergo psychological testing prior to being allowed to carry a firearm.

Firearms instructors certified by Florida’s Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission provide firearm education and training. All officers are provided an opportunity to meet firearm certification requirements in the Basic Recruit Academy. Only officers who desire to carry are required to successfully complete proficiency training and qualify annually.

Effective July 13th 2005, officers electing to carry are required to qualify and carry either a .357, a .38 caliber revolver or a 9mm with some specifications. Officers using weapons previously approved and in service prior to that date may continue to use their weapon provided annual qualification is met. Weapons must pass inspection annually. Officers provide the firearm and no reduced cost for the weapon has been secured. The department supplies duty and qualification ammunition.

There are no private companies providing adult felony probation and parole supervision.

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