L.A. probation officers visit Berlin counterparts in sister city exchange

"All the probation officers [here in Berlin, Germany] are social workers to begin with,” said County of Los Angeles Deputy Chief Howard Wong. “In L.A., usually, that’s not the case. We’re part law enforcement, court officers, and part police. We go in, we arrest, we search...it’s more social working here. That’s the biggest difference."

Photo by Henning Witzel on Unsplash



Over the past two weeks, a group of probation officers from Los Angeles have been in Germany’s capital for an exchange program with their Berlin counterparts.

The program, started in 1996, is organized by the Checkpoint Charlie Foundation and the probation departments of the two sister cities. In the fall of this year, Berlin police officers will head to L.A.

We spoke with Howard Wong, Deputy Chief, Adult Specialized & Post-Release Services from the County of Los Angeles Probation Department about the differences between the cities’ departments and tangible outcomes that result from the exchange.