San Luis Obispo County’s long-time chief probation officer is retiring after more than three decades with the County.

James “Jim” Salio was recently honored for his 31-years with SLO County’s Probation Department, running the department that supervises people on probation and adjudicates the juvenile justice system.

“Jim was hired as a Probation Department student intern trainee in 1989,” reads a staff report on his retirement, “and then as a Deputy Probation Officer in 1990. Jim promoted through the ranks, serving as a Supervising Deputy Probation Officer (1995), Division Manager (2000), and Assistant Chief Probation Officer (2008) before being selected as the County’s Chief Probation Officer (2009). 

“Throughout his career he has been known for his strong leadership qualities and decision-making skills.”

Salio was named Chief Probation Officer in June 2009. While chief he graduated form the U.S. Department of Justice’s “National Institute of Corrections Executive Orientation Program” and the Sam Houston State University’s “Correctional Management Institute” in 2010.

He was appointed in 2008 by then-Gov. Jerry Brown to the “State Commission on Juvenile Justice” and the “California Council on Interstate Adult Offender Supervision.” He also served as the president of the Chief Probation Officers of California in 2018.

During his tenure Salio “modernized and advanced the Probation Department by implementing evidenced-based practices and strategies proven to reduce recidivism; secured state funding for the expansion of the Juvenile Hall to meet critical infrastructure needs and allowed for the development of the Coastal Valley Academy (CVA); established a field and facility training officer programs that enhanced the competency and professionalism of Deputy Probation Officers and Juvenile Services Officers; and implemented a new collections case management system that increased efficiency and collection efforts in support of victims and the County.”

He also oversaw an over $19 million remodel and expansion of the County’s Juvenile Services Center (JSC) bringing the aging facility up to modern standards. 

The expansion added some 23,400 square feet and included new classrooms, inmate housing, and staff offices, along with new indoor and outdoor exercise areas including a really nice gymnasium with a hardwood floor, and regulation basketball and volleyball courts. 

That project also includes a courtroom specifically for the juvenile court inside the JSC.

The Resolution acknowledges Salio’s “leadership and expert knowledge of juvenile law significantly contributed to making changes at the County and State level that diverted lower risk youth away from the juvenile justice system and strengthened services and interventions for probation involved youth.”

 The Coastal Valley Academy is a program that “reduces recidivism and reintegrates youth on probation with their families through local residential treatment services here in San Luis Obispo County, rather than sending them to a group home outside of the county.”

Over his long career, Salio has been honored by several organizations that work with at-risk youth and their families, including — the South County Services Affirming Family Empowerment program, San Luis Obispo Coastal Unified School District, Department of Social Services, Children Services Network and the Association of California School Administrators.”

Estero Bay News also thanks Salio for his over three decades of service to the citizens of SLO County and wish him a long and happy retirement.