Donald H. Blevins, who has been credited with turning around Alameda County’s Probation Department, will become Los Angeles County’s Chief Probation Officer on April 19. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors this week appointed Blevins to head the department at an annual salary of $227,000. He replaces Robert Taylor, who retired earlier this month.
Cited for his experience, managerial skills and leadership, Blevins has spent his entire 34-year career in the probation field, more than 14 years of which has been in management. Among his accomplishments in Alameda County were the introduction of evidence-based practices to move toward assessment-driven services to clients; collaboration to create a juvenile mental health court; expansion of service to sexually exploited minors; enhanced literacy program for juvenile hall youth; implementation of a kiosk reporting system for adult offenders; institution of cost-effective alternatives to detention, including electronic and GPS monitoring; and enhancement of revenue and fee collection.
Blevins said he would also emphasize evidence-based practices in Los Angeles County, which he described as basing department procedures and practices on what research has proven to be effective. Something might feel good, but does it work? With limited financial resources, the department must work more efficiently, he said.
Noting that the Los Angeles County Probation Department was the largest probation department in the world, Blevins said he considers his new job, an opportunity of a lifetime, and looks forward to helping the department get back on track. I like a challenge, and this is a challenge on a grand scale, he said.
Blevins said his strength is that he knows the probation field inside and out, starting out as a deputy probation officer in San Diego County in 1976 and reaching the position of probation director of the adult field services before going to Alameda County.
He is active in numerous professional organizations, including the National Institute of Corrections, the Chief Probation Officers of California, the California Parole, Probation and Corrections Association, the American Probation and Parole Association, and the National Association of Probation Executives.
He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and sociology from the United States International University/Cal Western Campus-San Diego in 1974 and did graduate work in sociology in 1976 at the San Diego State University.
The Los Angeles County Probation Department, established in 1903, has a $692.8 million budget and 6,136 positions.