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Local probation officer gets new job in Helena

The juvenile probation office in Havre needs to fill two of its three probation officer positions.

Bob Peake, chief juvenile probation officer in the 12th Judicial District, headquartered in Havre, has accepted a position as the Youth Court and District Court Services Bureau chief in Helena, said Beth McLaughlin, court services director in the Montana Supreme Court administrator's office.

"We're just thrilled to get him down here," she said.

Deputy juvenile probation officer Kevin Buerkle was activated by the Montana Army National Guard in December and is in training before he is sent overseas.

The position of chief juvenile probation officer is being advertised within the judicial system, McLaughlin said. District Judge David Rice will select the new chief probation officer from among the candidates.

Rice said today he hopes to fill Peake's job next week.

"We hate to lose him but we know he has leadership skills that can be used well in the state office in Helena," Rice said.

The Supreme Court administrator's office this week will advertise a temporary position as deputy probation officer.

The state must hold the position for Buerkle.

"We have to and want to," McLaughlin said. "He's a good deputy."

Deputy juvenile probation officer Angi DiSalvo is the only officer staying in the district.

Peake did not return calls asking for comment.

McLaughlin said Peake was offered the position in the Supreme Court administrator's office Feb. 6. He will start March 8, and is traveling back and forth to Helena to learn his duties while continuing as chief juvenile probation officer in Havre.

The intent is to make the transition as smooth as possible, McLaughlin said.

The duties of the chief juvenile probation officer include identifying and assessing youth probation needs; developing goals, plans and measurements to create, maintain and improve services offered to the youth in the judicial district; and serving as the liaison between the youth probation department and the county attorney, law enforcement agencies, schools and public and private social service agencies.

McLaughlin said the duties of the Youth Court and District Court Services Bureau chief include development of policies and special projects in youth courts in the state.


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