Anthony Skeens, The Triplicate

Chief probation officer currently not on the job

With his embezzlement case resolved in court, Del Norte County Chief Probation Officer Tom Crowell is now the subject of a separate investigation being coordinated by Del Norte Superior Court Judge William Follett.

Follett holds the authority for appointing and removing chief probation officers.

Meanwhile, Crowell has not been at his post since last week, and an employee at the Del Norte County Probation Office said it was undetermined when he would return.

County Administrative Officer Jay Sarina declined to comment about Crowell's job status, except to say he wasn't on administrative leave.

Sarina did say Crowell's status with the county is considered "active in the sense he is the chief probation officer."

The Triplicate sent a public records request earlier in the week to County Counsel Gretchen Stuhr about Crowell's status, but she has not replied.

Crowell pleaded no contest to a single count of theft by embezzlement as part of a plea deal with the state Attorney General's Office that also included a delayed entry of judgment.

The deal offers Crowell the opportunity for a clean slate if he attends gambling addiction counseling, steers clear of gambling establishments for two years and pays a $661 fine.

The judgment does not mean that Crowell has been convicted. Instead, it offers a pseudo-probation term that, if successfully completed, removes almost any record of his arrest, though it would still appear in any background checks related to a peace officer position.

Crowell was accused of stealing $400, twice, from the bank account of the Law Enforcement Administrators of Del Norte County last September.

LEADN is composed of 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 was vice-president of the association at the time.

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