To support proposed legislation that would provide parole agents the same peace officer status as the California Highway Patrol, Robert Ambroselli, Director of the CDCR Division of Adult Parole Operations (DAPO), testified April 6 at a legislative hearing.
Assembly Bill (AB) 2384, authored by Assemblyman Danny Gilmore, would amend the California Penal Code (PC) to provide parole agents assigned to Adult Parole Operations the same peace officer status as other community-based peace officers, such as the CHP. The duties and responsibilities of DAPO parole agents have evolved and increased incrementally since the early 1970s, when the statute granting them peace officer status was enacted.
“Giving California parole agents expanded peace officer authority is a crucial step toward improving public safety in every community throughout the state,” said Ambroselli. “Because the role of parole agents has changed over time, granting PC 830.2 peace officer status to our agents will remove many of the impediments preventing them from using their skills and knowledge to the fullest extent.”
Currently, CDCR Parole Agents derive their peace officer authority from PC Section 830.5, which is the same section used to define institutional correctional officers. The duties and responsibilities of DAPO Parole Agents have evolved and increased infinitely since the statute granting their peace officer status was enacted in the early 1970s and are now in-line with PC Section 830.2 peace officers. The peace officer authority currently granted to DAPO Parole Agents is limited in scope, inconsistent with current Parole Agent duties, and does impose limitations as to their level of involvement which adversely affects their full benefit to public safety.
In virtually every community, Parole Agents have been asked to join, or have been assigned to various task forces with other area law enforcement personnel. These task forces are responsible for various enforcement duties within the communities that are not limited to parolees’ or parole conditions.
These task forces invariably target specific areas associated with criminal activity in the communities such as gang violence, sex offender’s compliance checks and narcotic intervention efforts. In many cases parole agents are a vital link to area law enforcement during investigations.