Anthony Skeens, The Triplicate

After embezzlement case,probation chief to leave post

Chief Probation Officer Thomas Crowell has submitted his resignation, which will take effect June 30, County Administrative Officer Jay Sarina announced Friday.

Until then, Crowell will be on paid administrative leave, said Sarina.

Crowell recently 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.

He 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.

Last week, an employee at the Probation Department stated Crowell had been off the job for at least a week.

Assistant Chief Probation Officer Linda Sanford will assume Crowell's duties for the time being, Sarina said, adding it is unclear whenthe process to hire a new chief probation officer will begin.

"This is one of those positions that is different than the typical appointed department head," said Sarina. "He is hired or separated through the judge. The judge will indictate when the hiring begins."

The plea 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.

Reach Anthony Skeens at