Juvenile Probation and Parole
Juvenile court officers (JCO), under the Iowa Judicial Branch, provide juvenile probation and aftercare supervision services.
JCOs do not carry a firearm. They are classified as peace officers with the power to take juveniles into custody.
There is a personnel policy that prohibits JCOs from carrying a firearm.
At the time of the survey, it was not under consideration to allow officers to carry a firearm.
The Iowa Legislature has annually appropriated certain funding so Chief Juvenile Court Officers (there are 8, one for each judicial district) can contract on a local and/or district level for supplemental intensive supervision and aftercare services where needed. Where this is done, JCOs continue as primary service providers with contracted private service providers assisting with supplemental supervision. Therefore, by juvenile law, it is the JCOs who have primary responsibilities. By practice, as long as the funding is renewed each year, private service providers assist. There are no contracted private providers providing these services on a statewide basis. Although, one intent of the Iowa Legislature providing in this funding is to prevent the addition of new state FTEs (full-time state employees), there is no intent to privatize juvenile probation and aftercare.
Adult Probation and Parole
Eight multi-county district departments of correctional services deliver adult probation and parole services, for felonies and misdemeanors. Local boards of directors who with the Director of the district set policy and define operations govern the districts. The Iowa Department of Corrections provides statewide coordination, administrative rule making, and accreditation standards.
The Iowa Board of Corrections first implemented the firearms policy in 1989 and the Administrative Rule was amended in 1999. This 1999 rules change allows any probation or parole officer in the state to carry firearms provided that they are a certified peace officer in Iowa. They must meet all the selection and training criteria set by the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy. This includes cognitive, psychological, physical, and medical testing and completion of the twelve-week training academy. Once certified the certification must be maintained by meeting annual training requirements and firearms qualification.
The Administrative rules allow the districts to issue firearms compatible with local law enforcement agencies including .38 caliber, .357 caliber, 9mm, or .40 caliber handguns.
Iowa does not use private providers to supervise offenders.
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