Probation officer to speak at PERI meeting


GREENVILLE – Just reading the local news it is not surprising to see that Darke County is no stranger to crime. From felonies to forgery, from sex offenses to drug trafficking and much more, Darke has its share of offenders.

Although crimes are fewer in number when compared to big cities, never the less, for its size and population, it is surprising how many crimes are actually committed in Darke County. For this reason, it is important to not only have a strong enforcement and judicial system, which Darke seems to have, but a way of evaluating whether or not an offender can be rehabilitated and have the chance to go on to lead a crime free life. This is where the Darke County Common Pleas Court and Probation Office take action.

According to James Mollette, chief probation officer of the Adult Probation Department of the Darke County Common Pleas Court, it is vitally important to evaluate both the intent and extent of the crimes as well as the felons who commit them. He said this includes interviewing and assessing offenders, family members, employers, public agencies, victims and other relevant sources to compile an in-depth background investigation as to whether or not the offenders can be rehabilitated.

However, he said this is just one aspect of his job and the highly trained probation officers he supervises. He said that they must not only have the ability to assess and counsel offenders effectively but must be able to assess and resolve problems in order to motivate offenders toward a socially acceptable behavior. In order to do this, he said they must also have knowledge of the criminal justice system and the current research and trends in the field of community corrections. This helps him and the probation officers he supervises to work more effectively with the Common Pleas Court and Judge Jonathan Hein as well as to understand and manage the community corrections field more effectively.

On Aug. 6, at their bimonthly luncheon meeting, which begins at 11:30 a.m. at the VFW on Ohio Street in Greenville, Public Employee Retirees and OPERS eligible retirees will not only have the opportunity to hear Mollette speak, but they will also have the chance to ask questions about the kinds of offenses that are happening in Darke County and how offenders are evaluated for release.

PERI members will be contacted by the calling committee and non-members may attend by calling Vivian Nieport, attendance and contact chairman, at 937-548-3961 on or before July 30. Interestingly, when they are ready to retire, Mollette and his staff will also be eligible to receive an OPERS pension and become a member of PERI. In fact, Rebecca Garrison, his predecessor, is currently an active member of PERI and recommended him to be PERI’s guest speaker.

Mollette, who was born and raised in Columbus, received his bachelor of arts degree in criminal justice from Ohio Dominican University in 1994. After beginning his professional career in Franklin County, he has lived in Miami County for more than 20 years. He is married to the former Tina Jackson, and they have three children.