ELKINS, WV (LOOTPRESS) – Heidi A. Hawkins, Chief Probation Officer of the Twentieth Judicial Circuit (Randolph County), has been named West Virginia Probation Officer of the Year for 2021.
She was presented the award in a surprise ceremony on Thursday, December 2 in the circuit courtroom in the Randolph County Courthouse in Elkins.
“I am very humbled to be presented the 2021 WV Probation Officer of the Year. The past two years have been full of challenges, but probation officers around the state have worked diligently to maintain a presence in each of our respective circuits and also deserve this award. I am very fortunate to be a probation officer in Randolph County,” Chief Hawkins said.
“We are truly a multi-collaborative, disciplined team that stretches from probation, the Randolph County school system, Department of Health and Human Resources, attorneys, law enforcement, the North Central Community Corrections Center, Youth Day Report Center, mental health agencies, Youth Build, Jobs and Hope, and Safe at Home, to name a few. It truly takes a village,” she said.
“A special thank you to my staff,” she said.
“Everyone works very hard and truly cares about our community and making a difference. This award is all of ours. Thank you to the Honorable Judge David Wilmoth, Stephanie Bond, Sherri Lopez, Heather Weese, Danielle Hoff, and my children, Kendall and Ty Flynn, for all the kind words. To say the least, I was overwhelmed. Thank you to everyone who celebrated this well-kept surprise with me. Words cannot express my gratitude.”
Chief Hawkins was nominated by the entire Randolph County probation staff. The nominating letter cited her 19 years of work for the West Virginia court system, her hard work and dedication, and her leadership by example.
“She is a strong advocate for her office, as well as for her community. She is a wonderful supervisor who is easy to work with and get along with. She sets an example of excellence for the employees under her supervision, displaying a strong work ethic,” the nominating letter said.
Chief Hawkins distributes cases evenly among the officers and herself. In addition to her full caseload, she participates weekly in the county’s juvenile drug court, adult drug court, and family treatment court team meetings and supports the county’s school-based probation officer. Her experience as a social worker, youth services worker, and child protective service worker before she became a probation officer “brings insight to these courts that are invaluable,” the nominating letter said. She helped establish the drug courts in the county.
She also helped write grants that established the North Central Community Corrections Program, serves on multiple community advisory boards, and runs monthly multi- disciplinary investigation team meetings for the county.
“She has grown the Randolph County Probation Office from two officers to eight by advocating for more officers so that our jobs can be done more efficiently,” the letter said. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, Chief Hawkins worked hard to make sure not only the Randolph County Probation Office, but other county offices as well, had the supplies we needed to do our jobs effectively and safely. She spent countless hours looking for sanitizers, masks, gloves, and other protective equipment to keep us safe.”
The letter concluded: “She is understanding, dedicated, knowledgeable, and a true asset to Randolph County.”