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Probation Chief Is Named

A San Bernardino County panel picks a former state Youth Authority director.

March 25, 2004|Hugo Martin | Times Staff Writer

A former Los Angeles County undersheriff and past director of the California Youth Authority was named Wednesday to serve as San Bernardino County's chief probation officer.

Jerry L. Harper, who served with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department for 37 years before taking charge of the California Youth Authority in 2000, was selected by a panel of county officials to head the probation department.

Harper replaces Chief Probation Officer Raymond B. Wingerd, who will retire next week after working for the county for 36 years.

Harper's appointment marks the first time that Superior Court judges and county supervisors have teamed up to select a probation officer. In the past, the supervisors approved the budget for the probation department but had no authority to hire or fire the chief probation officer.

That changed last year when the supervisors and the county judges agreed to share the responsibility by forming a panel to hire the probation officer. The panel included the chairman and vice chairman of the Board of Supervisors and two presiding judges.

Harper will lead a probation department that operates five juvenile detention and education facilities, with about 1,150 employees and an annual budget of more than $96 million.

Harper left his position with the CYA in December. During his tenure, it was the subject of several reports that charged that the authority had failed to protect young offenders from being terrorized or hurt while in prison. Harper attributed some of the problems to a lack of funding, staff and facilities.

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