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FLEOA Letter to House SubCommittee

FLEOA Letter to House SubCommittee on LEAP for US Pre-Trial and Probation Officers 

 

March 16, 2022


The Honorable Hank Johnson

Chairman, Subcommittee on 

Courts, Intellectual Property,

and the Internet
Committee on the Judiciary 

U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, D.C. 20515


The Honorable Darrell Issa

Ranking Member, Subcommittee

on Courts, Intellectual Property,

and the Internet

Committee on the Judiciary

U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, D.C. 20515

 

Dear Mr. Chairman and Ranking Member Issa:


I am writing to you on behalf of the more than 31,000 members of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA) to provide our views for Thursday’s Subcommittee hearing on "Workplace Protections for Federal Judiciary Employees: Flaws in the Current System and the Need for Statutory Change.” Within the Judiciary, FLEOA is proud to represent U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services Officers. In addition to the important issues you will be considering during this hearing, we would ask that you also consider the lack of overtime pay protections and support for these vital federal law enforcement employees.

 

Federal Probation and Pretrial Services Officers serve in judicial districts across the country, working day in and day out on behalf of both the individuals under supervised release and the federal judicial system. With the implementation of the "FIRST STEP Act” and the impact on operations resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, their jobs have been made infinitely more difficult as they aid formerly incarcerated individuals with re-entry into the communities and other critical services. As individual officer caseloads have increased exponentially over the past three years without a corresponding increase in staffing or resources, it is not uncommon for many officers to work excessive amounts of overtime in carrying out their important duties. These caseloads—along with the 24-7 in-person and electronic monitoring requirements—have taken their toll and caused many officers to take early retirement or look for employment with other federal, state, or local law enforcement agencies.

 

Unlike every other branch of federal law enforcement, Probation and Pretrial Services Officers are not currently eligible to receive any form of overtime compensation. While the Judicial Conference has approved a policy for providing some officers with a minimal amount of compensatory time in limited circumstances, even this policy is not uniformly applied across judicial districts. And because they fall under the Judicial Branch, our members are also not eligible and do not receive overtime pay protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act or Law Enforcement Availability Pay (LEAP), which is the standard form of overtime pay for law enforcement employees across the federal government.

 

To make their job even more difficult, Probation and Pretrial Services Officers often have to rely on state and local resources to meet the needs of those under supervision. There are no universal federal job, training, education, housing, or medical care programs available for those formerly incarcerated on the federal level. Which means that our members often have to resort to local contacts or call in favors to address the needs of those under their supervision.

 

It is for these reasons and others that we encourage this Subcommittee to explore the lack of a functional overtime compensation system for federal Probation and Pretrial Services Officers. Given the increased workloads, non-standard working hours, and a requirement to be on call 24 hours a day seven days a week, it is wholly inappropriate for Probation and Pretrial Services Officers to be the only federal law enforcement officers ineligible for overtime protections. It is an untenable position to ask these officers to supervise individuals without any functional overtime system and past time for them to be included under the Law Enforcement Availability Pay system.

 

Thank you in advance for your consideration of our concerns in this matter. FLEOA stands ready to work with you to ensure that U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services Officers have the support they need to carry out their duties. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can provide any additional information or assistance.

 

Sincerely,


Larry Cosme

National President


CC: Members, House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet.