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Niagara County Probation launches ‘Most Wanted’ web site

LOCKPORT – The Niagara County Probation Department is hoping the public can help it find some probationers who seem to have absconded.

The department has posted a page of its “most wanted” probation violators on the county web site, with photos of 15 of the top probationers whom they haven’t seen lately.

“It has photos, arrest information and descriptions, height and weight,” Probation Director John Cicchetti said Friday. “They’re basically absconders we’re having trouble locating.”

The Web page also carries phone, text and email contact information that viewers can use to supply tips as to where the absconders might be.

Courts have issued warrants for all those on the site, Cicchetti said.

The page is available by visiting and clicking on “Probation” under the list of departments.

Besides the Probation Department’s own “most wanted,” there’s a link to the Niagara Falls Police Department’s “most wanted” web site.

Cicchetti said there are about 1,300 adults on probation in Niagara County, and 10 percent to 15 percent are considered in violation of their rules at any given time.

“Not every violation results in a warrant being issued,” he said.

Last year, 11.8 percent of probationers had formal violations filed against them. That’s a typical figure, Cicchetti said.

“It’s been pretty steady for the last three years,” he said.

The department’s roster includes 26 probation officers and three supervisors. Two probation officer positions have been added in the last five years, thanks to state grant funding, Cicchetti said.

Six of the probation officers are assigned primarily to Family Court cases. The duties include intake of juvenile delinquents and kids dubbed “Persons in Need of Supervision,” about 550 per year, as well as monitoring 250 to 300 juvenile criminals and about 80 people sentenced to probation for falling behind on child support payments.