TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — The Tippecanoe County probation department is going high-tech. Low-risk offenders are now reporting to an electronic kiosk instead of using up probation officer resources.
With the touch of a finger, the Tippecanoe County probation department is holding low-risk offenders accountable.
“So the idea is by using the kiosk, I can free up another probation officer to do something other than ask these very simple static questions,” said Chief Probation Officer David Hullinger.
The kiosk is saving taxpayer dollars.
“The county is not out any money, and that covers the kiosk for a year. In fact, I’ve secured for two years actually, each year is $30,000,” Hullinger said.
That’s about half of what it would cost to hire a new probation officer.
“By the time you fit in your salary and all of your benefits, you’re looking at about $62,000 for a first-year line officer, a probation officer,” he said.
Hullinger said low-risk offenders are typically people who have a theft charge, a trespass or a first-time operating while intoxicated charge. He said no sex offenders will be using the kiosk. A calculated system refers people to the program.
“We identify what is referred to as criminal-genic needs or domains, and these people typically score low on this risk assessment,” said Hullinger.
The probation kiosks are located in the downtown Lafayette Sentinel Office. There, they also do drug screenings. Depending on how well this program goes in Tippecanoe County, Sentinel said it plans to offer services to other counties in the state.
“We adapt to the needs of the agency,” said Sentinel regional sales manager D.J. Williamson. “So if we do go into another county and they need different questions or modes of response, then we will adapt it for that county.”
Hullinger said so far, he’s received positive feedback from probation officers. They can now concentrate where they are needed, which is with moderate and high-risk offenders.
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