Beginning in February of 2003, both Juvenile and Adult Probation officers began working evening shifts, along with County and City of Reading law enforcement officials, in a collaborative effort to target a designated Weed and Seed area in the City of Reading. Modeled after a program developed in Boston, law enforcement officers accompany probation officers to probationer's homes in the evening to monitor compliance. The program has been effective in holding offenders more accountable, increasing visibility in the community, and networking with law enforcement agencies. Currently, the program has expanded to various communities throughout Berks County.
The goal of the Berks County Operation Night Light initiative is to reduce recidivism among offenders by making probation supervision more meaningful for groups most at risk for re-offending and violating the terms and conditions of their probation or parole. By constant and unexpected monitoring of individuals on supervision during non-traditional hours, probation officers can more effectively intervene in their client’s lives. Contacts, at residences and on the streets, will allow probation officers to learn more about their clients and what support services they need to avoid further criminal behavior. By using the power of the Courts and the threat of incarceration, probation officers can ensure clients are following the rules of supervision. By advising them of the ramifications of their life choices, probation officers can help redirect their lives in a positive direction.
Probation Officers have also offered assistance with various special projects throughout Berks County such as: high school football games, National Night Out, Governor Mifflin Community Days, and Exeter May Day.