Director of Coffee County Probation Services Mark Schempp has retired. His last day serving as director was Sept. 8.
Schempp served as director of 14 years.
“We started the program about 14 years ago,” Schempp said. “Prior to that, I had worked for Southcentral Human Resource Agency, as their probation coordinator.”
He enjoyed working to positively impact the lives of people on probation. The probation office is responsible for monitoring and providing resources to offenders convicted of misdemeanor in General Sessions Court or Circuit Court.
“We are responsible for taking those people convicted in sessions court or circuit court for a misdemeanor, people that could benefit from additional services or treatment options,” Schempp said. “So, we evaluate them, assess them internally, and we (decide) if we need to send them outside for a larger assessment. Then, based on those assessments and evaluations, we will see what additional services we may be able to help them attain during the time we have them.
“People that we (serve) generally have a sentence of 11 months and 29 days. Some people have issues in many facets, and we try to figure out what we can help them with moving forward.”
The focus is to help individuals break the cycle of reoffending, he added.
“They made a bad choice, and we seek to get them to acknowledge to themselves that it’s their fault they chose to do what they did,” he said.
The goal is to help them stay out of jail and become productive citizens.
Schempp said he will miss his colleagues.
“Sept. 8 will be my last day,” he said. “I will miss my interactions with the staff and the people. Each year we deal with over 1,000 people, and I will miss that. I just enjoy that, and there are a lot of people that are doing better in life (because of the services we provide). I like being around people and being able to communicate with them. I have enjoyed the staff we have had and working with them.”
He’s looking forward to traveling with his wife, Gilda.
“My wife and I like to wander,” Schempp said. “We like to get in the car and just start driving with no particular destination – we get on the backroads and wander. We want to go to the Northwest. We want to find beaches and just enjoy each other’s company – we just finished our 55th year. We will just wander, and I am looking forward to that. We have downsized to a smaller home, and we still have some finishing touches on that.”
Linda Baker, previously serving as deputy director, will be at the helm of the probation office.