Daniel Blackburn was surprised to learn that his co-workers
in the Smith County Adult Probation Department voted to name him the Officer of
“It was pretty shocking,” he said. “I didn’t know my peers
thought that much of me. It was nice to see that.”
The Smith County Community Supervision and Corrections
Department, commonly referred to as Adult Probation, honored Blackburn as
Officer of the Year during a recent department meeting.
Keith Westbrook was named Support Staff Person of the Year.
“Daniel Blackburn and Keith Westbrook are great assets to
the Smith County CSCD,” Adult Probation Director Joe Heath said. “They were
nominated by their peers for Officer of the Year and Support Staff Person of
the Year, respectively, because of their job skills and hard work. They have
earned the respect of their co-workers and the management team, as well as the
probationers our department serves. They are very deserving of these awards.”
Blackburn came to work for Smith County as a jailer in 2009,
and has worked as a probation officer for five years. He works with people
serving probation to ensure they comply with the judge’s orders, that they do
not reoffend, pay restitution and remain drug and alcohol free.
“You get to impact people’s lives. That’s really why I do
it,” Blackburn said when asked what he likes most about being a probation
officer. “People have told me I’ve been the most positive influence on their
lives … because I give them stability.”
Westbrook said being named Support Staff Person of the Year
meant a lot to him because his friends and co-workers voted on the award.
Westbrook worked as a field officer for the Adult Probation
Department’s Alternative Incarceration Center for about seven years before
becoming Community Service Coordinator for Adult Probation about a year ago. He
facilitates orientations for new probationers, works with nonprofits and other
counties to verify and enter hours probationers have completed, and creates and
builds relationships with nonprofit organizations so probationers can complete
“It’s always busy,” Westbrook said of his schedule.
What Westbrook likes most about his job is the opportunity
to work with the public and with his co-workers. He said having those
co-workers all vote to name him Support Staff Person of the Year means more
than if a supervisor had given the award to him.