Derek J. Gallagher, Chief Probation Officer
The Seminole County Probation Division (SCPD) is a division of The Department of Public Safety under the Seminole County Board of County Commissioners. SCPD is comprised of several independent yet interrelated work programs. These programs provide services and supervision to offenders in community-based settings in a cost effective and efficient manner. Within SCPD, the focus is always on public safety and providing cost-effective alternatives to incarceration for offenders under court supervision. SCPD works in concert with other Divisions within Seminole County, The Department of Public Safety, and with other agencies within the criminal justice system, to ensure proper case processing and effective offender supervision. The Seminole County Probation Division supervises over 6,500 offenders in the community annually.
Intake Section: Intake staff process offenders upon their first report date to the SCPD. This processing involves running criminal histories, conducting interviews with the offenders, completing assessments, and providing general instruction on applicable terms of supervision. Defendants are then registered for the appropriate supervision programs and given referrals to the appropriate community agencies necessary to comply with their court-ordered conditions of supervision as outlined in their court disposition.
Pretrial Diversion Section: Pretrial Diversion is a referred prosecution program facilitated through SCPD and the Office of the State Attorney. Pretrial Diversion is primarily a program for selected first-time offenders who have committed certain misdemeanor crimes. Participants are screened and selected based on program criteria, including current charge and criminal history. The Pretrial Diversion Unit conducts Pre-Sentence investigations when ordered by a Judge.
Each program participant must sign a contract with the Office of the State Attorney, agreeing to program requirements (e.g., community service, restitution, and cost of supervision). The program is six months for most misdemeanors and nine months for Domestic Violence offenses.
Misdemeanor Probation Section: This program enhances community safety by providing for the supervision of offenders sentenced to misdemeanor probation. The supervising SCPD Officer monitors the offender’s compliance with court-ordered conditions of probation, including payment of cost of supervision and restitution. Cases are returned to Court, via a Violation of Probation (VOP) when offenders are not in compliance with their conditions of probation or when they are arrested on new charges.
Community Service Section (CS): The CS Program monitors offender’s court-ordered community service hours and reports the completion or non-completion of the hours to the appropriate referring authority.
Electronic Monitoring Protection and Crime Tracking (E.M.P.A.C.T.): The E.M.P.A.C.T. Section is responsible for supplying meaningful information to Judges through comprehensive interviews and criminal history checks of inmates, while identifying candidates who qualify for E.M.P.A.C.T. as a condition of Bond pending the case disposition. Time is permitted for offenders to work, seek employment, attend medical or court appointments and take care of other essential life needs. Offenders have frequent office and field supervisory contact with a SCPD Officer and are monitored through the use of electronic surveillance. The program provides close supervision of offenders in the community under pre-sentenced and sentenced conditions. Enhanced monitoring is available for victims of domestic violence or stalking. In cooperation and partnership with the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office this nationally recognized, first in the nation, innovative program uses a combination of GPS tracking, GEO-mapping and crime scene data integration. This work force multiplier is a powerful public safety tool that holds offenders accountable by correlating crime data countywide, inclusive of municipalities, with their GPS tracks. Any correlation translates into an offender being a suspect in a crime. This tool also quickly reduces the suspect pool by eliminating offenders with tracks located away from the crime scene. Enhanced monitoring is available for victims of domestic violence or stalking. Offenders who are charged with domestic violence-related offenses and are released from custody on bond while awaiting trial may be placed by the Court on this enhanced monitoring program. Notices of major violations, such as exclusionary zone violations and equipment tampers are automatically sent out via telephone and message immediately to law enforcement, victims and conditional release officers. Law enforcement officers may immediately arrest the offenders, and often can do so before they have an opportunity to leave the immediate area.