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Hectic time for probation office

Effectively evicted from one building while moving into another, they could not have planned a busier April.

But that’s what the Nevada County Probation Department is faced with after the March 20 fire destroyed its Nevada City office just as it was planning to move teen prisoners from the old juvenile hall to the new one.

“It’s a little bit crazy right now,” Chief Probation Officer John Wardell said. “The county has done a really good job of getting us up and running.”



The juvenile hall move is expected later this month, although the date hasn’t been revealed for security reasons.

This comes as probation officers and clerks resume working in the Rood Administrative Center and other makeshift offices. The department is still considering its options during reconstruction of the old Elks Lodge, where it hopes to eventually return, Wardell said.




The department has received offers of equipment, furniture and workers from other county probation departments and has accepted offers of computers, Wardell said.

Meanwhile, he said, 40 to 50 percent of the records for the department’s roughly 1,200 adult and juvenile probationers have been recovered.

The records are active files and to reproduce any of them will require pulling computerized records in the county courthouse and District Attorney’s Office, Wardell said.

Files, many in metal drawers, are still being pulled from the debris. Documents beyond saving are shredded while many of the salvageable files – much like instant coffee – are being preserved through freeze-drying by a Sacramento company.

The process eliminates any moisture, which presents the potential for mold, a health hazard, Wardell explained.

“No odor to them or anything. I don’t know how they do it, but they do it,” he said.


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