HANCOCK COUNTY — A 17-year veteran of Hancock County Probation Department has been appointed the office’s new leader.

Josh Sipes, who has served as probation officer in Hancock County since 2000, recently was named the county’s chief probation officer.

He’ll oversee the staff of 20 officers and counselors who monitor men and women who have been convicted of crimes locally, helping them transition to lawful lives as productive members of society. The department averages more than 1,000 cases a year.

Sipes is a graduate of Ball State University and has a degree in psychology.

For the better part of a decade, he led Hancock County’s juvenile probation program, where he oversaw an average of 400 cases a year involving troubled youth who found themselves wrapped up in the court system.

Prior to being hired by the Hancock County Probation Department, Sipes worked at a residential treatment facility for at-risk kids with emotional disorders; and also for St. Vincent Health, mentoring children with autism and Asperger’s syndrome.

Sipes will fill the office left behind by longtime mentor Wayne Addison, who was the county’s chief probation officer for 35 years.

Addison retired from the job in September and said he spent his last few months on the job grooming Sipes to be his replacement.

Calling Sipes dedicated and hardworking, Addison said he’s sure Sipes will do a great in the department’s top seat.

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Caitlin VanOverberghe is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3237 or cvanoverberghe@greenfieldreporter.com.