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The Saddleridge Fire seen behind Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall in October 2019

Juvenile Probation Staff Honored For Efforts During Saddleridge, Tick Fires

Staff at juvenile probation camp in Bouquet Canyon north of Santa Clarita are expected to be honored for their efforts during the Saddleridge Fire and Tick Fire in 2019.

96 Probation officers and staff are set to receive the Department’s Medal of Merit for bravely assisting with the evacuation of youth at Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall (BJNJH) and Camp Joseph Scott, located off of Bouquet Canyon Road, during the 2019 fire season.

The L.A. County Probation Department Medal of Valor is for staff who, on or off duty, distinguished themselves by conspicuous bravery or heroism above and beyond the normal demands of service displaying great courage in the face of immediate life-threatening peril and with full knowledge of the risk involved, according to the official statement from the Probation Department.

“The courage demonstrated by DPO II Corbett and the staff at BJNJH and Camp Scott during the Saddleridge and Tick fires show how selfless and dedicated our employees are,” said Los Angeles County Interim Chief Probation Officer Ray Leyva. “These brave and hard-working individuals are just a small representation of the amazing people that make up the L.A. County Probation Department, trying every day to make a difference in our client’s lives.”

On Thursday, Oct. 3, DPO II Corbett, who is a Probation liaison with the City of Norwalk, was visiting a local middle school to introduce herself when school officials were alerted that an 11-year-old boy had ran away from the school and was standing perilously close to nearby train tracks. Despondent by the fact that his parents were going through a divorce, the boy ran away from school officials and his mother during a parent meeting at the school that day.

“I decided to intervene when I heard the sirens and the train begin to honk its horn,” Corbett recalled. “I knew it was critical to remove the young man and myself from danger. Most importantly, I did not want that young man to jump in front of the train.”

DPO II Corbett managed to persuade the boy closer to her by talking to him. Just in time, she quickly grabbed the young boy and guided him to safety just moments before the train passed, avoiding what could have been a disaster.

“I am happy that I was able to de-escalate the situation and I am thankful for all of my years of Probation training which enabled me to identify a critical situation and take action,” reflects Corbett.

Martha Corbett was recognized by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors last October. “Your commitment to the safety and well-being of others is such a good example of what our Probation Department stands for,” said District 4 Supervisor Janice Hahn. “On behalf of the Board of Supervisors, we want to thank you for your heroic deed and your service to our young people.”

Also in October, the Tick Fire broke out in Santa Clarita, threatening Camp Joseph Scott, Probation’s only girls’ camp. 25 youth and 20 staff were safely transported to Challenger Memorial Youth Center (CYMC) in Lancaster. Once deemed safe by health and safety authorities, Camp Scott reopened Nov. 24, 2019 with all operations and activities resuming as normal.

L.A. County Probation had to cancel its in-person ceremony honoring these medal recipients as well as other staff from across the Department that were nominated by their peers for demonstrating leadership, diligence, mentoring, engagement, reliability, ethics and earned respect from their co-workers, clients and the community due to COVID-19 restrictions, however plans for virtual recognition events are in the works.

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Juvenile Probation Staff Honored For Efforts During Saddleridge, Tick Fires

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