On January 7, 2020, Ray Leyva began his tenure as Interim Chief Probation Officer of the Los Angeles County Probation Department today after being appointed to the position by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors. Chief Leyva brings with him more than 40 years of distinguished, results-driven leadership working in public safety. He replaced Chief Terri L. McDonald, who has served as Los Angeles County’s Chief Probation Officer for the past three years and retired from County service.
“The Los Angeles County Probation Department is a significant Department, one that provides excellent services with dedicated employees and I’m honored to be the Interim Chief. I look forward to continuing to build on the successes and opportunities of the Department so that we may continue to make positive impacts on the lives of those we serve and the communities we continue to help keep safe,” said Chief Leyva.
Chief Leyva most recently served as Undersheriff in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD). He began his career as a reserve officer with the Los Angeles Police Department in 1975, leaving the LAPD to work as a police officer for the Burbank Police Department in 1976. In 1981, Leyva transferred to the Sheriff’s Department, and in an over 35-year career with LASD, developed and managed critical incident management teams, established policies and procedures, as well as collaborated with unions, media and other public entities. Some of his notable assignments include serving as Captain of the Court Services West Bureau; the Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau where he was responsible for the Office of the Sheriff and all media interaction for LASD; Men’s Central Jail; and Pitchess Detention Center North and East Facilities. He was also Commander of Field Operations Region I, where he was given functional supervision over the patrol stations located in Palmdale, Lancaster, Crescenta Valley, Altadena and Temple, and North Patrol Division, covering the Santa Clarita Valley, West Hollywood, and Malibu Lost Hills.
Chief Leyva holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from California State University Los Angeles and a master’s degree in Business Administration from Pepperdine University, and is a former National President of the Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association.
The Los Angeles County Probation Department has over 6,100 employees serving more than 80,000 juveniles and adults who are currently on probation in the County of Los Angeles.
Terri L. McDonald is sworn in in 2017 as the first female Chief Probation Officer of the Los Angeles County Probation Department.
After a temporary closure in 2014, Campus Kilpatrick reopens in 2017 to serve Probation youth by implementing the “L.A. Model” for juvenile rehabilitative service facilities. The L.A. Model at Campus Kilpatrick is a small-group treatment model that is youth-centered and embodies a culture of care rather than a culture of control. The model’s central framework relies on all campus staff including Probation, the Los Angeles County Office of Education, and mental health providers to coordinate and deliver a range of integrated services that collectively aim to cultivate opportunities for growth and healing while promoting personal autonomy and responsibilities. This model includes intensive case planning that is coordinated, collaborative, and includes input from youth, family, probation, school/education, physical health, mental health, and when appropriate additional service providers or stakeholders. The therapeutic environment permeates all aspects of the campus experience, including all daily and nighttime activities, and is consistently upheld and reinforced by youth and all staff.
In 2011, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 109; the California State Public Safety Realignment Plan. This plan shifted the supervision of individuals who were convicted of non-violent, non-serious, non-high risk sexual offenses from the State Parole’s jurisdiction to the local county probation departments throughout the state. Between September and November in 2011, the Department received approximately 4,000 former parolees for supervision services.
In 2012 former Stanislaus County Probation Chief Jerry Powers was sworn in as the Department’s 17th Chief Probation Officer.
In December 2012 two Assistant Chief Probation Officers were appointed to the Department. Assistant Chief Margarita Perez joined the Department to oversee the Field Services operations including AB109. Assistant Chief Don Meyer joined the Department to oversee the Juvenile Institutions and Administrative operations of the Department.
In March 2013, the Department debuted the television segment, “L.A.’s Most Wanted” on the local KTTV FOX-11 evening news. The first-of-its-kind program, hosted by Assistant Chief Margarita Perez, featured photos and profiles of absconded AB109 probationers and solicits the public’s assistance in relocating them via a “tip hotline” that is directly linked to the Department’s AB109 Unit.
The Los Angeles County Probation Department joined the social media community by creating a Facebook page in April 2013. In this same month, the Department graduated DPO II Eboni Cobb as the first African-American female from the armed officers academy.
In 1992 the Department implements new management structure for simplified management control.
The Department manages to find creative funding resources more so than in the 1980s.
In 1994 Group Supervisor Arnold Garcia became the first probation employee to die in the line of duty.
In August 1993 the Department completed an initial study of its youthful offenders and found that 16% of the minors with “first time ever” petition requests accounted for 67% of the subsequent petition requests. This on-going study is laying the groundwork for a new direction in delinquency prevention involving a multi-agency; multi-disciplinary approach aimed at early identification and intervention of this chronic offenders group.
By January 1980, a staff of 3,972 employees was working throughout the county in 40 different work locations. However, by January 1983 the Department had 3,204 employees, and more than half of these were Deputy Probation Officers, working in 40 locations.
In October 1981, Kenneth E. Kirkpatric again assumed the role of Chief Probation Officer.
In August of 1982, staff in Juvenile Halls were reclassified as Detention Services Officers.
After almost forty-four years of service with the Probation Department, Kenneth E. Kirkpatric retired at the end of February 1984.
Barry J. Nidorf was appointed Acting Chief Probation Officer and in June 1984 became Chief Probation Officer.
By January of 1985, a staff of 3,444 employees was working throughout the County in 46 work locations. Reorganization resulted in the development of a fifth Bureau, responsible for Special Services. A wholesale change in philosophy about Probation is the purpose and the incentive of new advances in technology have thrust the Department back into the forefront of its field.
In 1985 the Department adopts a new mission statement to redefine its role and strategic direction in response to community expectations.
Early in 1970, the Los Angeles County Probation Department was among the national leaders in the field of corrections. Almost half of its 4,400 employees were professional Deputy Probation Officers. More than 16,000 juvenile and 53,000 adults were under the guidance, supervision and care of staff working in 40 locations including area offices, sub-offices, specialized programs, detention facilities, camps and schools, community day care centers and camps aftercare units.
Clarence E. Cabel became Acting Chief Probation Officer in November 1974.
McLaren Hall in El Monte was transferred to DPSS in 1975. In the same year, the new Las Palmas School for Girls replaced the old El Retiro School.
In 1976 Las Palmas School for Girls was renamed Dorothy Kirby Center in honor of the woman who founded it and served as its Director for 15 years. The change in name coincided with a change in programming to include a program for boys, making the Center coed. Kenneth F. Fare became Acting Chief Probation Officer. The Department remained among the national leaders in the field of corrections.
By the mid 70’s, the severity of the national and local economic picture, social pressures at the polls and legislative changes had serious impact. Following other national trends, the Department was forced to seek ways to accomplish more with less resources.
Reorganization of the Department into new divisional lines occurred in 1960 which created Field Services, Juvenile Facilities, Administrative Services and a Medical Division with a total staff of 2,200. Five hundred Deputy Probation Officers in Field Services investigated 25,000 adult and 16,500 juvenile cases each year and supervised 24,500 adult and 15,000 juvenile probationers from 11 area offices. One hundred deputies worked with almost 1,000 boys in 10 camps. There were two juvenile halls and one girls school.
Based upon recommendations from a Governor. s Commission, Juvenile Court law was thoroughly revised by the 1961 legislature for the first time since adopted in 1903.
In 1962 the Department headquarters moved into the newly constructed Hall of Records in the Civic Center. Leland C. Carter was appointed Chief Probation Officer the same year.
In 1965, the new San Fernando Valley Juvenile Hall opened to provide service to the northeast area of the County and relieve overcrowding at other detention facilities.
In 1965, the total department staff exceeded 3,300 employees working in 13 area offices, 4 specialized offices, 14 camps and schools and 4 juvenile detention facilities. The sixties also saw the inception of a wide variety of special programs.
Kenneth E. Kirkpatric, a departmental employee for 28 years, was appointed Chief Probation Officer in 1968.
Karl Holton returned as Chief Probation Officer in 1952 and instituted full-scale reorganization and decentralization of the department and appointed new Chief Deputy Probation Officer Harold R. Muntz in 1954.
Los Padrinos, the second juvenile hall, opened in 1957 and direction of juvenile halls transferred from Probation Committee to Probation Department.
After 1956 decentralization of the department was rapid, with new area offices throughout the county bringing probation services to clients and communities from Lancaster to Bellflower.
One hundred and eight staff members investigated 4,063 juvenile petitions and 5, 299 adult probation applications in 1940.
With the appointment of Karl Holton to direct the newly established California Youth Authority, John M. Zuck was appointed Chief Probation Officer in 1943. The Groups Guidance program was established to work with juvenile gangs.
A year-long Deputy Probation Officer Trainee program started in 1946.
Under the leadership of Kenyon J. Scudder, appointed Chief Probation Officer in 1931, the Probation Department initiated its forestry camp program and established the first Community Coordination Council (CCC).
The Camp program later served as the model for the federal California Conservation Corp camps and for similar camp programs for youth throughout the nation and the world.
The second branch area office opened in Pasadena in 1935, and in 1938 probation services were made available to the Los Angeles Municipal Courts.
Karl Holton was appointed Chief Probation Officer in 1939, to usher in an era of rapid change and growth. He left the Department to become the first Director of the California Youth Authority (CYA) in 1943.
By 1920 staff had grown to 27 Deputy Probation Officers who handled 1,893 Juvenile Court petitions and 690 adult cases monthly.
W.H. Holland was appointed Chief Probation Officer in 1921 and in 1924 he also was appointed as head of the Department of Charities, with an assistant. Warren Prescott, directing the Probation Department.
The first decentralization took place in 1928, with the opening of the Long Beach office to serve the area and the newly opened courts there.
Permanent juvenile detention facility opened on Eastlake Avenue in Los Angeles, the present site of Central Juvenile Hall. Renamed Los Angeles County Juvenile Hall in 1912.
New County Charter in 1912 named the Probation Officer as an administrative officer of the County, and all employees came under the merit system.
First Probation Officer named under the new charter was Hugh C. Gibson.
Captain Dodds remained, until his death in 1921, as head of the new Adult Division.
There was rapid expansion of the department under the new County Charter, with Harold D. Vann appointed as Probation Officer in 1915 (at a salary of $175 per month). He had a staff of 17 assistant probation officers.
El Retiro School for Girls established in Sylmar in 1919, under the direction of the Probation Committee, which is now appointed by the Board of Supervisors.
Control of El Retiro was not transferred to the Probation Department until 1945 and direction of juvenile halls not until 1957, when the Probation Committee became an advisory body to the Probation Officer.
Juvenile Court Commission was established by the Women’s Clubs of Los Angeles and Judge Curtis D. Wilbur was appointed to supervise juvenile facilities and to select and pay the salary of the first Probation Officer.
In 1903, the first California probation laws were enacted and Captain Augustus C. Dodds was appointed the first Los Angeles County Chief Probation Officer.