Spotlight on 2 Worcester, Mass. Probation Officers

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    Emilio Cruz and Andrew Peck handled a situation when Fernando Reyes took off from court, cut his GPS bracelet and allegedly threatened a woman who had a restraining order against him (Published Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014)

    (NECN: Mike Cronin) - The work of probation officers often goes unnoticed, but the actions of two area probations officers got some close attention.

    Emilio Cruz is a Worcester Superior Court probation officer. Last month, he and another officer dealt with a scary situation when Fernando Reyes took off from the courthouse. He cut his GPS bracelet, allegedly contacted a woman who had a restraining order against him and threatened to burn her home down.

    Cruz was concerned for the woman’s safety.

    “I couldn't go to my house without an assurance that that woman was safe,” the probation officer says.

    Cruz contacted police and got the victim to an anonymous shelter for domestic violence victims. He also managed to pick up her kids and help authorities track down Reyes, all in the same day.

    Assistant chief probation officer Andrew Peck says he didn't expect anything less from Cruz. He says a lot of work done by probation officers goes unnoticed.

    “They're working every day in partnership with other community agencies and local police departments,” says Peck. “Really is bringing enhanced public safety to the community.”

    Cruz says the job is not just an office one. He says probation officers are always in danger.

    “We are probation officers all the time. We are out there; we go to supermarkets; we go to churches, everywhere where our probationists are,” Cruz says.

    He adds he's been threatened a number of times, but he loves what he does.

    “I love the criminal justice system. I love my community,” Cruz says. “I wanted to help the community and this is what I like to do.”