“The probation officers know how hard it is, that’s why they posted a bus route too.”
“If they don’t check in, they might have to go back in [jail],” Nick said.
While walking his dog Bentley, Nick saw a couple of guys panicking in front of the probation department.
On June 15, while walking his dog Bentley, Nick saw a couple of guys panicking in front of the San Diego County Probation Department at 3977 Ohio St., in North Park.
“I then asked them what was going on and they responded, ‘I gotta call, I gotta call,'” he said.
No payphones were in sight, though.
In the last couple of weeks, he noticed that the three entrances to the building were all locked and had instructions taped on the inside of the glass.
“First you must check in at the front desk to confirm that you have an appointment, then walk through a metal detector.”
One printout read: The Ohio St. Probation Office is Permanently Closed. We are sorry for the inconvenience. Please report to The Hall of justice Probation Office in Downtown San Diego to check-in — 330 W. Broadway, 4th Floor, San Diego CA 92101. Questions: Call your assigned Probation Officer or 619-515-8212 for assistance. The other printout had driving, bus and walking directions to the other office — but no email, social media or website addresses.
Many residents said that they did not want another brewery to take the building’s place.
“Thats bull$t, they are passing the buck,” Robert said. “It’s not our responsibility; it’s theirs.”
Robert was on probation back in 2008 and used to check into the same building on Ohio Street. “I would call my attorney immediately and have him find out what’s going on because it’s a legal issue.”
Michele Clock, the communications officer at the County of San Diego, confirmed that the building was closed on June 8. “The current building is nearly 50 years old and the county is in the midst of updating, vacating, or rebuilding its aged facilities,” she said in an email on June 22.
During the interview with Nick, two additional individuals attempted to enter through the locked doors.
“They (the probation officers) know how hard it is, that’s why they posted a bus route too,” Robert said, “some don’t even have cell phones.”
He added that the ones that were just released from jail, might not have the resources to hop on a bus or make a phone call. “I wonder if they (the individuals on probation) were given adequate notice of this.”
Robert said that the reporting-in process with the probation officer is tedious and childish. “First you must check in at the front desk to confirm that you have an appointment, then walk through a metal detector,” he said. “You then wait about an hour before speaking with your probation officer. [You] then have to take a piss test and depending on what you were busted for, show papers to prove that you are on the ‘up and up.'” With some cases he added, the offenders have to take domestic violence classes and show that they completed such, or show proof that they are looking for a job.”
Clock said that “no clients were arrested and no sanctions were issued on clients for failure to report during the move from the Ohio Street office.”
When the word got out on the North Park streets, many residents said that they did not want another brewery to take the building’s place, others simply questioned the old building’s fate.
“The probation department has convened a working group of North Park leaders and justice system advocates for input on the new design and programmatic services in a new building,” Clock said.
Bill Mondigo, 56, visits his partner that owns a condo across the alley from the building. “After they did the big cleaning a couple weeks ago was when we saw the closed notice in the window,” he said, “but there had always been some presence in the building; some employees have continued to go in the back, as well as a security service has always patrolled the property.”
Clock said that there were more than 700 clients supervised out of the offices within the 24,000 sq./ft. building; the probation department has been operating at this location since 1974.
“The fact that it’s getting shut down says a lot about the probation system,” Robert said.
As of 4 p.m. on June 22, a red Condemned sign was posted on the three front entrances, and a For Sale sign was posted on the fence where the department employees once parked.