Dan Hawks

The Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 on Thursday to appoint Dan Hawks to serve as the next chief of the probation department, where he has worked for the past 20 years.

Hawks will start a five-year term in his new role beginning on May 1. 

He’s replacing Chief Probation Officer Linda Downey, who is retiring after 25 years of service to the county.

“He’s very excited for this opportunity, yet he said he’s had a great working experience with Chief Downey and will miss her,” County Administrator Tracie Riggs said.

Downey was appointed as chief in 2016 and helped navigate the department through the opening of the Mother Lode Regional Juvenile Detention Facility in April 2017.

Hawks has served as the assistant chief probation officer since 2017. He started with the department as a deputy probation officer in 2000 and worked his way up to division manager in 2006.

The selection of Hawks came after an open recruitment process that began in February and was overseen by Riggs and Tuolumne County Superior Court Presiding Judge Donald Segerstrom.

County Supervisor Karl Rodefer said it has been the board’s practice to open positions up to external competition even when there is a qualified candidate to promote internally.

“He was the very best person we had compete for that position and I think the public can be very, very confident that not only has he proven himself here, but went through a very rigorous competition,” Rodefer said.

Hawks holds a double bachelor’s degree in history/social sciences and religious studies. 

As chief probation officer, Hawks said his first priority will be to help the department get through the county’s current fiscal issues that include a projected budget shortfall of up to $7 million.

“I will say it’s a little daunting to assume this role given the county’s current fiscal situation,” Hawks told The Union Democrat on Thursday. “Those that have come before me, especially Chief Downey, have put so much energy and effort into making this department effective and respected throughout the state, so my number one goal in these tough times will be to maintain the department on its current course.”

Downey could not be reached for comment.

Hawks will receive a starting base salary of $123,751 per year and benefits provided in the county’s compensation plan for executive and confidential employees.


Contact Alex MacLean at amaclean@uniondemocrat.com or (209) 768-5175.


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