Anthony Skeens, The Triplicate

Suspended Del Norte Chief Probation Officer Thomas Crowell has been placed on paid administrative leave after the County Board of Supervisors decided to move him from unpaid leave.

The decision came during an emergency meeting earlier this month when it was decided Crowell would return to work by helping the county transition for AB109 - a state-mandated reform to the California prison system that releases certain eligible inmates to county supervision following their prison term, said County Administrative Officer Jay Sarina.

Crowell has been an integral part of the county's implementation of plans and procedures to respond to the reform that has also shifted sentencings of certain crimes to the county jail rather than prison.

The latest project involves a drop-in center that will act as a hub for parolees, providing a possible place to stay, a meeting point for group sessions and community volunteer work.

"Getting these plans and such done is part of what we need," said Sarina.

Crowell was arrested Nov. 8 on suspicion of embezzling $800 from a bank account belonging to Law Enforcement Administrators of Del Notre County in September.

LEADN is comprised of representatives from all the local law enforcement agencies, from parks to Pelican Bay State Prison. It helps provide training to officers and devises plans to improve service to the community.

Crowell is expected to remain in his new capacity until the outcome of his criminal proceedings, Sarina said. He has been removed from any managerial duties at the Probation Department; assigned only to the administrative duties for AB109, Sarina said.

No criminal charges have been filed as of Monday and the case has been handed to the Attorney General's Office as a result of a conflict of interest arising from Crowell's position.

His arraignment is set Dec. 18.

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