Stanislaus County Chief Probation Officer Jill Silva will retire next month after more than 27 years with the county.
Silva will retire on her 53rd birthday, Feb. 17. A Superior Court appointment on May 5, 2012, made her the top official over the county Probation Department, which has 260 employees and a $55 million annual budget.
Assistant Chief Probation Officer Mike Hamasaki will be promoted to the chief’s position Feb. 24.
“It is a great county to work for,” Silva said. “I am going to miss a lot of people that I have strong relationships with.”
The Superior Court appoints the chief probation officer to carry out sentencing orders for convicted offenders. In Stanislaus County, staff members in the Probation Department are employees of the county.
As Silva made preparations for retirement, a panel of judges was informed that Hamasaki was interested, and he was interviewed in September. The court offered him the post without going to an open process.
Silva began her work for Stanislaus County in 1989 as a deputy probation officer for the juvenile intake and investigation unit. She became a supervising probation officer in 1999, was promoted to manager overseeing juvenile casework, and in November 2002 became deputy probation officer responsible for field services.
Silva’s job was reclassified as assistant chief probation officer in February 2009.
Silva guided the department through the first years of public safety realignment. The state legislation and other reforms have emphasized more programs for adult probationers and court-sentenced juveniles. The county opened a new $22.7 million Juvenile Commitment Center in June 2013 and also built a Day Reporting Center near the county Public Safety Center on Hackett Road.
Silva also has served on committees including the Stanislaus County Children’s Council and Child Abuse Prevention Council, and was a Hughson City Council member.
“She has really done well in working with the Board of Supervisors and Chief Executive’s Office to do great things with the Probation Department,” Hamasaki said.
Hamasaki has been assistant chief probation officer for 4 1/2 years. He earned a criminology degree from Fresno State University and began work for Stanislaus County as a deputy probation officer in 1994. Hamasaki was a division director before his promotion to assistant chief.
Hamasaki said he does not foresee any changes coming from Sacramento as dramatic as Assembly Bill 109, which set realignment in motion.
Juvenile crime is down throughout the state and fewer teenagers are held in the county’s juvenile facilities. The county averages around 76 young people in juvenile hall and the Juvenile Commitment Center, which have a total of 216 beds.
Ken Carlson: 209-578-2321