ROSEBURG, Oregon – In 2001, Angela Garcia was working in the front office with Parole and Probation. Despite not being raised around criminal justice, she was intrigued by the Parole Officers (PO) and the responsibilities they held. Though her journey was not easy, Garcia now works as an Adult Parole and Probation Officer with the State of Oregon Department of Corrections.
“I enjoyed working with people and thought ‘maybe becoming a Parole Officer is the route I want to go’ but I was also considering police work,” Garcia said. “I was encouraged by my supervisor at the time Rob Willbanks to try the Police Reserve Academy and to see if reserving was the avenue I wanted to take, so I started there.”
While being a single mother and working full time, Garcia chose to follow her supervisor’s advice. In 2002 she had enrolled in the Police Reserve Academy (PRA) and Umpqua Community College’s (UCC) Criminal Justice program. She completed her time with the Academy one year later.
“I did the PRA and it just opened up doors for me,” Garcia said. Dennis O’Neill, who used to run the Criminal Justice program at UCC, encouraged me to continue my education. Early in 2004, I applied to be a PO and was promoted. But one of the promises that I made with the department was that I was going to finish out those degrees.”
In 2005, Garcia earned her associate degree in Criminal Justice from UCC, but she didn’t stop there. Garcia then became the first student to join Southern Oregon University’s online degree program, completing her Bachelor’s degree in Criminology three years later.
After a few years into her career as an Adult Parole and Probation Officer, Garcia quickly learned that many community members don’t understand what a PO is and the duties that come with the job.
“We supervise offenders who have been sentenced to probation with the court and adults who have been released from prison on parole,” Garcia said. “We assess the offenders’ risk to re-offend, their criminal risk factors and social support needs then we coordinate services to help them obtain treatment, housing, or other supportive services to facilitate re-entry into the community.”
Garcia then continues to work with the offender to establish specific case plans, encourage follow through with reaching their goals, and motivate them to change their negative behaviors.
“Umpqua Community College gave me the ability to attend night courses, work full time, and raise my kids,” she said. “It’s a very friendly and diverse campus that just feels like home. Attending UCC was a wonderful experience that made me feel proud of my choices.”
Lt. Kelley Bean – Contact
Coordinator, Police Reserve Academy
Keith Yori – Contact
Program Coordinator, Criminal Justice