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SCVNews.com | Probation Chief Takes Steps to Implement ‘Culture of Change’ | 11-07-2012
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Chief Jerry Powers

[LACo Probation Dept.] – “The next phase of the department’s transformation is underway, ” declares Los Angeles County Chief Probation Officer, Jerry Powers.

Today, Chief Powers is formally announcing the hiring of Don Meyer as Assistant Chief Probation Officer for Institutions and Margarita Perez as Assistant Chief Probation Officer, Field Services to help lead the department which is at an historic juncture.

“I have known Don Meyer for more than a decade. He is a reformer, “ says Chief Powers,

“Don Meyer led the Sacramento County Probation Department as they were being sued for many of the same issues that Los Angeles has gone through. He was able to dramatically reduce use of force and create a supportive and therapeutic environment for both staff and juveniles.”

“Margarita Perez’s leadership and experiences with state parole will be instrumental as AB109 is implemented here in Los Angeles County.  Margarita Perez has shown that she knows how to get things done. She is a do-er.”

Ms. Perez sees her work with State Parole as a natural transition to working with Los Angeles County Probation, “I worked for parole for 24 years. Often we deal with the same offenders. Under AB109, State Parole and Los Angeles County Probation will be working more closely together.”

Margarita Perez knows something about transitions.  She is the daughter of Mexican immigrants, the first born, the first to finish college. Her parents were field workers and showed her the value of persistence and hard work.  She dreamed of serving in the armed forces until she met colleagues who worked full time for state corrections. “I was enthralled with working with criminal offenders. I have always been curious about why people stay on the straight and narrow and why others get involved in criminal activity, and what it takes to turn them around.”

Don Meyer was a 21-year old fry cook at Sacramento’s Juvenile Hall when a friend convinced him to consider a career in probation. He’s never looked back. “I am the kind of manager who likes to walk around, talk to people, get to know them professionally. I’m looking forward to this next challenge.”  Don Meyer goes on to say, “This is what I like to call the best time; a renaissance period for Los Angeles County Probation. With new evidence based therapeutic approaches, we can work with offenders in a different way.”

Los Angeles County Probation is making a fundamental change in the command structure in the department by dividing the current Chief Deputy Probation Officer position in to two Assistant Chief Probation Officer positions. Chief Probation Officer Jerry Powers says this re-structuring will strengthen the overall oversight, enhance performance and increase accountability.

Don Meyer is currently the Chief Probation Officer for Sacramento County. He expects to report for work in Los Angeles on November 30, 2012.

Margarita Perez is currently the Acting Director, Adult Parole Operations. She expects to report for work in Los Angeles on November 26, 2012.

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2 Comments

  1. Steph C. says:

    It would help tremendously if the staff working for the Probation Department were treated in higher regard. Many of these officers are being placed to work with parolees through AB109 and asked to go out into the field without guns, pepper spray, bullet proof vests, and other safeguards. Maybe safety should be first instead of hiring more people to pay $200,000 per year salaries to. It is hard to believe that the State would hand over such a huge task to a Department who is probably one of the most corrupt in Los Angeles County. It will be really hard to let a rehabilitating Department lead others in their path towards good.

  2. scared citizen says:

    “With new evidence based therapeutic approaches, we can work with offenders in a different way.” really means the state cannot afford to hold people in prison anymore b/c it costs too much. Thus we will not violate anyone b/c that means they risk going to prison and that cannot be an option. Their main goal is to protect the state budget not the public.

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