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Probation Department. Director Michael Sharbaugh. Promoting safe and peaceful communities throughout Catt. Co.

Probation Investigations

  • Probation Officer - Theresa Grove (Olean)
  • Probation Officer - Lisa Schultz (Salamanca)
  • Probation Assistant - Kim Teuscher

One of the most important functions of the probation department is the preparation of investigations for the use of the courts in the decision making process of responding to perpetrators of crime. These investigations include ROR investigations in the Pretrial program; pre-plea, pre-sentence, and Certificate of Relief investigations for the criminal courts; and pre-plea and pre-dispositional investigations for Family Court.

These investigations cover such topics as criminal history, current offense information, assessment data, flight risk, social history, and any other information that may be relevant to the court in its decision making process. Following the presentation of this factual information, the investigation typically includes an evaluation of the information and then concludes with a recommendation to the court regarding a course of action for the court to take with each offender.  The following chart shows a breakdown of the types of investigations conducted by the department, which courts they are used in, and the number of each type of investigation:

Type of Investigation Criminal Court Family Court
ROR - Pretrial Program 583 Investigations  
Pre-Plea 7 Investigations  
Pre-Sentence 627 Investigations  
Pre-Dispositional   33 Investigations
Certificate of Relief 25 Investigations  

A part-time Correctional Alternatives Specialist conducts the ROR investigations for the criminal courts. These brief investigations measure flight risk and are used by the court to determine if and when an inmate should be released from incarceration while their court proceeding is pending. If the report indicates, the court may release the defendant on his/her own recognizance, or the court may request that the department provide certain minimal supervision services while the matter is in the court system.

The criminal court pre-plea and pre-sentence investigations are completed by the adult probation staff, with one officer assigned full time to the work of writing investigations. That officer completes an average of 360 investigations per year. The balance of these investigations (274) are completed by the other adult unit officers in addition to the supervision duties.

The Family Court pre-plea and pre-dispositional investigations are completed by the school-based probation officers in addition to their supervision duties. These investigations are used by the Family Court judge when determining how to respond to Juvenile Delinquency (JD) and Person in Need of Supervision (PINS) matters.

Certificate of Relief from Disability investigations are used by the court in the determination of whether or not to relieve an offender of certain bars that may be imposed as the result of their criminal conviction. These bars may restrict an offender's employment, licensing, and the right to carry a firearm. These investigations are an important matter in a rural county such as Cattaraugus, as we have an active portion of the population which is involved in hunting and a felony conviction will prohibit these offenders from owning or possessing a firearm. Great care must be taken by the department when preparing these investigations to ensure that offenders who are high risk are not being granted permission to own firearms, while at the same time respecting that hunting is a legitimate activity in which many persons in the county choose to participate.  These investigations are conducted by the adult criminal unit staff, usually by the officer who originally supervised the offender while on probation.