L.A. Gets a New Interim Probation Chief

Los Angeles County officials on Thursday announced the hiring of Guillermo Viera Rosa to serve as L.A.’s next interim probation chief. Viera Rosa took over the following day. He’s the third person to lead the department this year and the eleventh chief it has seen in the past two decades. 

“I am deeply honored to take on this role,” Viera Rosa said in a statement. “While it will give me responsibility department wide, I want to assure everyone that I remain committed and focused on restructuring our juvenile operations so that they will meet state standards in the long run even as we embrace the county’s `Care First’ model of juvenile justice.”

Viera Rosa replaces interim chief Karen Fletcher, who is retiring. She was thrust into the role two months ago after the firing of Chief Adolfo Gonzales. Fletcher was Gonzales’ chief deputy and a controversial figure herself. The Probation Oversight Commission had previously called on her to resign. 

The probation department’s challenges far predate Fletcher or Gonzales, but they reached a crescendo after a 2020 incident involving a juvenile was captured on video. For years, the county’s juvenile halls have been plagued by violence and allegations of negligence and brutality. “Appalling” conditions at these facilities have led the state to consider shutting them down entirely.

Until recently, Viera Rosa was an outsider, which may be his greatest asset. He’s a former ex-officio member of the Board of State and Community Corrections with 27 years of probation and parole experience. In April, he was hired as the chief strategist for L.A.’s juvenile operations — a newly-created position aimed at improving conditions for probation youth. 

Read more about L.A’s newest interim probation chief at the Los Angeles Daily News.