Yuba County chief probation officer announces retirement


From The Appeal Democrat by Michaela Harris


After 30 years of service to the Yuba County Probation Department, Chief Probation Officer James “Jim” Arnold recently announced his plans to retire by the end of August.

Having been raised in the Yuba-Sutter area, Arnold started his career with the probation department as a volunteer extra help group counselor in 1993, shortly after obtaining a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from California State University, Sacramento. 

“I was drawn to an opportunity to help people and change their lives. Who people were isn’t always who they are,” Arnold said.

After serving as a group counselor for three years, Arnold was promoted to deputy probation officer in January 1997. He spent the next four years supervising juvenile offenders and performing pre-sentence investigations for Yuba County Superior Court.

Arnold continuously served the county probation department before being named chief probation officer in 2009. Since then, he has been integral to creating a positive culture, vision and overall direction for the department.

To Arnold, one of the most important aspects of the probation department is its “family first” culture, which ensures that employees and their families are a priority in the work they carry out.

With the introduction of Assembly Bill 109 and Senate Bill 678 in 2011 – two California bills which aim to reduce recidivism rates through community corrections programs – Yuba County Probation underwent significant changes to provide more evidence-based community programs. Under Arnold’s leadership, the department was able to expand its level of service.

Over the course of his career, Arnold saw the development of Maxine Singer Youth Guidance Center in 2001 and a new tri-county regional juvenile hall facility that is scheduled to open this fall. He also orchestrated the relocation of Yuba County Victim Witness to the city of Marysville, enabling an expansion of services that better serve the Yuba-Sutter community.

After 30 years, Arnold is most appreciative of the services he helped provide to the community and the people who carry it out.

“The most rewarding part is seeing lives change and getting to redirect behavior so people can become productive givers to the community,” he said. “I’m grateful to the people themselves. People in our department are the most important and the reason why I love my job.”

Arnold will retire from his position on Aug. 31, and Matt Ricardy, superintendent of the Tri-County Youth Rehabilitation Campus, has been named as the next chief probation officer. Ricardy began his career with Yuba County in 2003, and has worked a wide variety of different assignments.

“Matt Ricardy has demonstrated a work ethic and commitment to excellence in his over twenty years of service to the citizens of Yuba County that will serve him well as the Chief Probation Officer” Arnold said in a statement. “His leadership incorporates innovation and inclusion. He understands a department is only as good as the people who operate it and Matt makes the health and well-being of staff as a top priority.”

A public retirement farewell party has been planned for Arnold on Aug. 30 from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Yuba County Probation Department’s TEAM Center, located at 120 5th St. in Marysville. This gathering will also serve as an opportunity to introduce Ricardy as the new chief probation officer, which he will assume on Sept. 1.