The Department of Correction has fired a probation/parole officer who was arrested last Wednesday for theft. An investigation revealed that Joshua Keith DeBord misused funds paid by offenders under his supervision in the Knoxville area. The offenders thought they were paying court ordered fines and fees but DeBord kept the money for his personal use. DeBord was arrested and booked into the Sevier County Jail
Commissioner Derrick Schofield called the charges a serious violation of the public trust and made the decision to end DeBord’s career, effective Jan.
28. DeBord was assigned to the Sevierville office and faces prosecution for theft over $500.
The department will soon launch an automated fee payment system that will assist in preventing this type of abuse. Beginning in June, offenders on probation or parole will be able to pay their court ordered fines, fees or restitution online rather than submitting money orders and cash in person.
“As part of the top to bottom review of our agency, we determined an automated system would increase efficiency and free up our probation/parole officers to spend more time in the community supervising offenders,” Commissioner Schofield said. “Our commitment is to enhance public safety by ensuring we utilize the best methods available to add accountability to the system.”