Federal Way’s probation supervisor keeps people out of court

Stacie Scarpaci is the Mirror’s Hometown Hero for May 2022.

Courtesy photo
Stacie Scarpaci, left, with Judge Dave Larson.

Courtesy photo Stacie Scarpaci, left, with Judge Dave Larson.

Most times, a court judge driving several hours to surprise you isn’t a good thing. But for Probation Supervisor Stacie Scarpaci, the surprise was for a well-deserved reason.

In early May, Scarpaci was named Probation Supervisor of the Year and presented with the award by Judge Dave Larson at a Misdemeanant Probation Association (MPA) conference in Vancouver, Washington.

Scarpaci was nominated by Federal Way Municipal Court administrator Tiziana Giazzi, who has worked with her for nearly 20 years.

In the letter nominating her, Giazzi said Scarpaci is loyal, fair and always willing to lend a hand.

“She jumps at the opportunity to collaborate for the betterment of the community,” Giazzi wrote in part. “… she has dedicated her career to be the best that she can be in her position and because she motivates those around her to give the best of themselves. She exemplifies what the right thing to do is, not for recognition but rather because she cares.”

Scarpaci has worked in the Federal Way Municipal Court since 2004, and now oversees the three-person probation department. The department aims to provide more services and resources to people from pre-trail to post-conviction. Probation officers monitor or facilitate different options for the Jail Alternative programs, which includes work crew, day reporting, or electronic home monitoring. They also connect people with peer support organizations at the courthouse, monitor alcohol consumption devices and random drug testing programs, and evaluate the progress of each person on probation, among other duties.

“I am here to help you be successful, I don’t want you to have to go back in front of the judge,” Scarpaci said of what she tells probationers. “We try our best to be encouraging.”

She was recognized virtually at the May 17 Federal Way City Council meeting. Scarpaci is also the Mirror’s Hometown Hero for the month of May.

“I think our probation office is very active, and with her lead, seems to run extremely, extremely smoothly,” said Judge Brad Bales at the recent council meeting. “The atmosphere there is always one of help.”

The average probation period lasts about one to five years.

Scarpaci said she closes out all of the successful cases on a monthly basis, and this month, she closed 20-30 cases that were successful, meaning the person completed their probation period without any violations.

“There’s way more successful [cases] than there are unsuccessful ones,” she said.

The probation department has taken additional steps to care for the community, sparked by an encounter last year during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A man arrived at the municipal court with no shoes on and appeared he hadn’t eaten in awhile. Though they weren’t able to fix the entire situation, she said, it prompted the probation department to create an in-house resource center to help people with immediate needs, such as hygiene products, snacks and water, or additional clothing items.

“It is 100% funded by the staff of the courthouse,” she said. “Since then, we’ve cleared it out a couple of times and have had to restock it.”

Scarpaci gave thanks to her colleagues at the council meeting, highlighting the team effort it takes to run the department.

“[The award] is to our staff,” she said. “It’s a pleasure to get to work with all of you and to be a part of this city.”

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