The Probation Act of 1925, signed by President (and native Vermonter) Calvin Coolidge, provided for a probation system in the federal courts (except in the District of Columbia). It gave the courts the power to suspend the imposition or execution of sentence and place defendants on probation for such period and on such terms and conditions as they deemed best. The Act also authorized courts to appoint one or more persons to serve as probation officers without compensation and one salaried probation officer.
The first probation officer appointed in the District of Vermont was Winooski, Vermont resident Edward Horton, who served from 1935 until his death in 1937. Paul Picher was appointed the first Chief U.S. Probation Officer in the District of Vermont and served the District from 1937 to 1979. At the time of his retirement, Chief Picher had the distinction of being the longest serving U.S. Probation Officer within the national system.
The U.S. Probation Office in the District of Vermont has subsequently been led by James M. Dean (1979-1997), Philip K. Albertson (1997-2007), Joseph A. McNamara, Esq. (2007-2020), and Michael S. Cusick, Esq. (2020-present).
As an agency, United States Probation has evolved and undergone considerable growth nationally. Until 1977, the entire State of Vermont was managed by a single federal probation officer. Presently, the District of Vermont is staffed by fifteen officers who perform a range of pretrial and post-conviction supervisory/investigatory services for the U.S. District Court.
The U.S. Probation Office for the District of Vermont seeks to carry on the tradition of "The Vermont Way" – drawing upon the values of community, collaboration and interdependence to carry out its mission to assist the Court in the fair and humane administration of justice by providing impartial investigative reports and supervising individuals with a commitment toward community safety, compliance, and correctional treatment.