Although many people likely view reporting to a probation officer as a punishment, Ada County Juvenile Court Probation Supervisor Leahann Romero said her goal is to instead make those visits about rehabilitation.
It’s an approach that has shown success. By helping juveniles in the criminal court system set and meet goals, Romero is able to help at-risk kids get off probation early, find new directions for their lives, graduate high school and go on to college. Romero said she’s even gotten a letter from a former client who wrote to tell her they’d gone into criminal justice.
“I see a lot of rewarding things,” she said.
Still, she admits that not everyone sees it that way.
And Romero said that building those relationships is one of the best parts of her job.
After graduating Boise State University with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, Romero earned a master’s degree in criminal justice administration from Arizona State University. She now teaches criminal justice part-time at Boise State and the College of Western Idaho.
Romero is also the vice president of DrugFree Idaho, a nonprofit that promotes a drug-free culture in workplaces, schools and communities. One of DrugFree Idaho’s main initiatives is its Natural High Campaign, which helps kids find activities and hobbies they enjoy.
“We really focus on educating the community on substance abuse and trends,” Romero said. “What we talk to the community about is: How can we help kids find their natural high, the things that they’d like to do?”
“Leahann has been an amazing asset to DrugFree Idaho and our mission of substance abuse prevention,” he wrote in a recommendation letter. “I cannot state enough how much I value her volunteer efforts and her guidance as a trusted adviser.”