Excellence in Volunteerism Award Winner
OC Probation Department
Volunteer Probation Officer
Pictured from left to right, Chief Probation
Officer Steven Sentman & Volunteer
Probation Officer John Leahy.
ACTION: What does the volunteer do?
Volunteer Probation Officer (VPO) John Jack "LT" Leahy is assigned to the Collaborative Court Unit #381 to assist Deputy Probation Officer (DPO) Cyr Oca in the Combat Veterans Court (CVC) program. CVC serves combat veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) who have intersected with the criminal justice system upon their return home after combat. In addition, VPO Leahy assists DPO Oca with the Recovery Court (RC) program that serves co-occurring mentally ill and substance abuse probationers.
VPO Leahy provides exceptional support for DPO Oca in accomplishing weekly duties for both Court programs. He meets with and tests probationers on reporting days that occur twice each week, helps finalize the vital Court Progress Reports and represents DPO Oca in Court when he is unavailable on a CVC Court calendar date.
NEED: What community or agency need does the volunteer address?
VPO Leahy provides professional-level support to DPO Oca who manages caseloads for two Court programs. Both CVC and RC Court programs require extensive interaction with probationers that includes following through and checking back with Court directives, as well as discussions with mental health treatment providers.
VPO Leahy is highly trained and extremely competent in performing his duties since Volunteer Probation Officers undergo strict standards of recruitment, screening, background checks, classroom training, on-the-job training, graduation and deployment. He performs specific job duties and must adhere to safety-related guidelines.
The Orange County Probation Department can calculate VPO Leahy's volunteer hours to a corresponding monetary savings; however, it’s impossible to place a dollar value on the impact he is making within the community through his volunteer endeavors, especially for combat veterans and co-occurring mentally ill and substance abuse probationers.
IMPACT: What is different as a result of the volunteer's service?
The assistance and support provided by VPO Leahy is beyond measure. His service has afforded DPO Oca the ability to focus and allot additional time to increased supervision and has enhanced assistance to the probationers assigned to the CVC and RC Court programs.
INSPIRATION: What makes the volunteer unique/special?
VPO Leahy served twenty-two years with the US Marine Corps. Upon retirement from the military, he served twenty-six years with the Orange County Sheriffs Department, achieving the rank of lieutenant. His career with the Marine Corps has enhanced his effectiveness in working with the probationers who as veterans respect and identify with his military background.
Most of the combat veterans are very young, and VPO Leahy’s weekly interaction with them is making a significant impact on their lives. They address him as “LT,” and he has proven to be an exceptional role model and mentor to both the combat veterans and DPO Oca as well.
VPO Leahy began volunteering with the Orange County Probation Department on November 30, 2007. Since that time, he has contributed more than 3,029 volunteer hours. Of those hours, he has dedicated approximately 1,461 hours to the Collaborative Court Unit #381 CVC and RC programs.
Thank you and congratulations to John Jack “LT” Leahy, recipient of the 2011 Excellence in Volunteerism Award!
Click here to find out how you can volunteer with the OC Probation Department.