Edmonds Municipal Court Probation Officer Omar Gamez was named Probation Officer of The Year by the Washington State Misdemeanant Probation Association (MPA), an honor given to one probation officer each year from across the entire state. The MPA is an organization focused on increasing the quality, continuity and effectiveness of probation services for people convicted of misdemeanors within Washington state.
Gamez has served as a probation officer at Edmonds Municipal Court since 2015 and has 15 years of experience in the probation field. While at Edmonds Municipal Court, he has assisted in creating a Community Court (learn more about that effort in our earlier story here), facilitated and implemented a Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT) Program for domestic violence and repeat offenders, and organized educational events for defendants. Gamez also volunteers at St. Vincent de Paul, serves on a number of boards, and works as an instructor at the probation officer training academy.
“I enjoy working with people from all different backgrounds and experiences, especially those struggling with addiction and mental health issues,” he said. “I have worked closely with many defendants and have witnessed many of them reach and maintain sobriety, which has been the biggest factor in them getting involved with our court. It takes a lot of time, patience, and thinking outside of the box in order for us as a system to help get them there and eventually out of the criminal justice system.”
Former Edmonds Municipal Court Judge Linda Coburn, now serving on the Court of Appeals, presented the award to Gamez. “Omar’s work is a shining example of finding new ways to reach our ultimate goal – reducing recidivism,” Coburn said. “Omar never forgets the humanity in others. He recognizes the important role that he plays and the opportunity he has to make a difference in someone’s life.”
Emdonds Municpal Court Judge Whitney Rivera, who replaced Coburn on the bench earlier this year, said that Edmonds “is so fortunate to have Omar Gamez on our probation team. When defendants discuss the positive changes they have made while on probation, they often point to the support they received from Omar and the tremendous impact he had on their lives. We are delighted that his excellent work is being recognized.”