Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Probation Chief Taylor Retires in 2010



A distinguished 50-year career of public service comes to a close


LOS ANGELES—Robert B. Taylor announced that he will step down as the 17th Chief Probation Officer of the Los Angeles County Probation Department on January 15, 2010.


Taylor officially announced his retirement in a letter to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in late October, stating “I will conclude my service in the same beautiful City and County that I call home.”


Taylor took over the Probation Department when it was facing several challenges and from the beginning, the Taylor administration was confronted with audits by both the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), requiring many lofty improvements in the juvenile detention facilities.


“At the time, [I] was confronted with a myriad of problems including an unfavorable audit request…that pointed out 100 department management deficiencies,” Taylor stated. “A memorandum of agreement with the DOJ contained more than 50 paragraphs of things needing correction, all of which had to be monitored within six months.”


Taylor rallied his troops and together they successfully met all of the DOJ’s requirements as well as addressed all the deficiencies mentioned in the Board’s audit within three years. 


Taylor’s public service career began when he enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1960. In 1964 he joined the Los Angeles Police Department where he worked his way up to the rank of Commander.  He was the recipient of several commendations and awards including the Medal of Valor.





Taylor retired from the LAPD in 1993; however, his law enforcement experience beckoned him to join the University of Southern California’s Department of Public Safety where he served as a deputy chief in field services.


 In 2002, Taylor’s reputation for being a problem-solver led to his becoming the County Ombudsman from 2002 through 2006 where he investigated community complaints regarding County agencies.  Taylor was asked by David Janssen, who was then the County Administrative Officer, to help Probation Department Chief Paul Higa with operations in the department. When Higa suffered a stroke and subsequently died, Taylor took over as Chief Probation Officer in 2006.


In his October 2009 letter to the L.A. County Board of Supervisors, Taylor expressed his gratitude for being given so many opportunities to serve the County of Los Angeles.


“I have appreciated the opportunity to serve the County of Los Angeles as your Ombudsman for four years and later as your Chief Probation Officer,” Taylor stated. “We have shared some interesting and challenging moments together, times of joy and times of sorrow, but that is the nature of public service. I very much appreciate the support you have demonstrated during all of those times.


On November 2nd, Chief Taylor announced his retirement date to the Probation Department’s more than 6,200 employees in a department-wide email.  He encouraged the staff to continue its dedication to serving the community.


“It has been my pleasure to serve with you,” Taylor stated. “Please don't take this as a goodbye because, like you, I am still working at full speed because our responsibilities do not diminish because of some future date.”


Taylor reflected on the work he has done and the work that there is left to do at the Probation Department.


“I know there is still work left undone, but I have concluded that there will always be work left undone. While this may signal the closing chapter in my professional career, it also signals a time for others to pick up the organization’s responsibilities as others have done before me.”


For more information regarding Robert B. Taylor’s retirement or requests for interviews, please contact Kerri Webb, Public Information Officer, at (562) 315-3388. 




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