brent robinson

Richland County Common Pleas Court Judge Brent Robinson discusses the importance of probation and parole officers on Tuesday with county commissioners.

MANSFIELD -- Richland County Common Pleas Court Judge Brent Robinson said Tuesday his job is made easier by local parole and probation officers.

"I am not willing to put someone on (community control) unless I believe that person is actually going to be supervised," Robinson said. "I can tell you the people in this room actually do that."

The judge was referring to a packed Richland County commissioners' meeting, all gathered to hear the local lawmakers proclaim this week as "Pretrial, Probation and Parole Supervision Week."

Robinson said Common Pleas and Mansfield Municipal Court judges all rely on the men and women supervising criminals who otherwise would be behind bars.

"That's what makes this community safer," the judge said. "I am very comfortable putting people on community control with the people we have. They make sure these people are doing what they are supposed to be doing.

"They are not the enemy of these people. They are actually trying to help them, but helping them is making them do the right thing. It doesn't help to allow them to do whatever they want. (Probation/parole officers) help these people become productive, hard-working citizens."

Bittinger

Richland County Chief Probation Officer JJ Bittinger speaks to county commissioners on Tuesday morning about the importance of work done by local parole and probation officers.

Richland County Chief Probation Officer J.J. Bittinger said parole and probation officers are "often the kind of forgotten side of criminal justice.

"A lot of police officers and law enforcement officers deal with someone for a one-time shot. They arrest someone, put them in jail, and they don't deal with that person maybe again forever.

"We deal with them for three for three to five years. We're the ones who try to turn them and get them back on the right track."

Bittinger also praised the work of the local Ohio Adult Parole Authority and the Mansfield Municipal Court Probation Department.

parole probation officers

Members of the Richland County Adult Parole Authority, Richland County Court Services and the Mansfield Municipal Court Probation Department gather outside the Richland County Administraton Building on Tuesday.

Commissioner Tony Vero joined in that praise.

"We know it's not easy work, what you do. You put yourselves in harm's way and we thank you for your service. It's certainly not a job I would want to do. It's hard, hard work," Vero said.

Commissioner Marilyn John echoed Vero.

"The work you do goes far beyond a hearing. We really appreciate how you look out for our well-being, even if we don't always know (about) it," she said.

Also on Tuesday, commissioners:

-- approved $36,480 to upgrade the heating and cooling control system at the Richland County Dog Warden's Office. County Maintenance Supervisor Chuck Minich, joined by Dog Warden Dane Howard, told commissioners the control system is failing and needs to be replaced before winter.

Minich said the entire heating/cooling system will eventually need to be replaced, including the boilers. Commissioners will use the money from their capital improvement account for this expense.

commissioners dog warden

Richland County commissioners meet on Tuesday morning with county Dog Warden Dane Howard and county Maintenance Supervisor Chuck Minich.

-- heard Howard request approval to purchase a used SUV for the dog warden's office. Howard said the department has four vehicles, two of which were inoperable when he took office this spring. A third with high mileage broke down Monday and repairs may be costly. He located a 2017 Chevrolet Equinox with 35,000 miles at an area dealership at a cost of $15,000. Commissioners asked Howard to also get price estimates for transferring radio equipment into the vehicle and for a striping package showing it's a dog warden's office vehicle.

-- discussed a planned visit at the dog warden's office on Aug. 27 by the RASCAL Unit Neutermobile through the non-profit Mid-Ohio Animal Welfare League, officially launching the shelter's mandatory spay/neuter program. Commissioners plan to attend the beginning of the event, which will start at 8 a.m.

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City editor. 30-year plus journalist. Husband. Father of 3 grown sons and also a proud grandpa. Prior military journalist in U.S. Navy, Ohio Air National Guard. -- Favorite quote: "Where were you when the page was blank?"