Colleene Preciado is a retired Chief Probation Officer of the Orange County Probation Department. As Chief of the second largest probation department in California, she was responsible for leading the 1600 member workforce and managing the $151 million operating budget. As a 34-year veteran of the agency, she served in almost every capacity during her career. She graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Welfare. She explored the corrections profession as a volunteer for the Los Angeles and Orange County Probation Departments in the mid-1970’s. The experience persuaded Ms. Preciado to devote her life to serving the public within the criminal justice system.
As a line deputy, Ms. Preciado supervised caseloads of adult and juvenile offenders for 10 years. After promotion to supervisor she was assigned to program development for three years and to the Gang Violence Suppression Unit for five and one‑half years. She was a director in the County’s Juvenile Hall for six and one‑half years from 1994 through 2000. As chief deputy for five years she oversaw department-wide administration, budget, contracts and collections, human resources, internal affairs, training, legislation, community programs, research, information technology, victim services, and public affairs.
Ms. Preciado is a guest lecturer at California State University Fullerton, and University of California Irvine, and has provided numerous training courses on probation search and seizure, narcotics identification, gangs, values and ethics, and the role of probation officers and juvenile correctional officers. She completed the Josephson Institute of Ethics “Protecting the Badge” seminar and established mandatory ethics training for all staff. In 2008 the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court appointed her to the Judicial Council, Family and Law committee.
She served as Chair for the Southern Regional Chapter of the California Association of Probation Services Administrators (CAPSA), and later as CAPSA State President. She was treasurer for the Orange County Narcotics Officers Association, an active member of the Orange County Gang Investigators Association, and a volunteer mentor for the Orange County Bar Foundation’s juvenile diversion program. She is a graduate of the Orange County Leadership Academy (OCLA) and is one of the founding members of the OCLA alumni steering committee. She is active in supporting innovation and Evidence‑Based Practice (EBP) in corrections. She was passionate about Orange County Probation’s strategic direction toward a fully automated Integrated Case Management system using EBP and implementation of a balanced scorecard performance measurement system.
As an active member of the Chief Probation Officers of California (CPOC) she coordinated an effort to produce a white paper on Sex Offender Management in 2007 and publication of the first business plan model for adult probation in California in 2010 for (CPOC). While chief, OC Probation was awarded a two‑year technical assistance project on “Implementing Correctional Management of Offenders in the Community” by the National Institute of Corrections and in 2009 identified as a national site for the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative.
Due to the budget crisis facing the local and national economy, Chief Preciado led the department through an unprecedented reduction of $22 million in services during FY’s 2008-10 including the layoff of 200 employees to meet anticipated revenue reductions while maintaining a balance in public safety services under the responsibility of the probation department.
Ms. Preciado retired in April of 2010 and enjoys her life in Huntington Beach with her husband Al, a 24-year police officer, and their dog Rex.