Division of Adult Parole Operations, Inside CDCR Video

From Cadet to Parole Agent

Video by Jeff Baur
Office of Public and Employee Communications

Last week you met Sgt. Vanessa Melendez as she looked back at her academy days, including chemical agent training. But she wasn’t alone during that training – among the cadets alongside her in 2013 was Brandon Lugar, whose CDCR career has taken a different trajectory, this time to the Division of Adult Parole Operations (DAPO).

Here, Parole Agent Brandon Lugar shares his journey from a cadet at the Richard A. McGee Correctional Training Center to a correctional officer at California State Prison-Sacramento, to a DAPO parole agent committed to keeping communities safe through effective parole supervision.

To learn more about becoming a Correctional Officer, visit https://www.cdcr.ca.gov/por/. Learn more about DAPO at https://www.cdcr.ca.gov/parole/.

Watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/PKqkp0sWMnc (may not play on a CDCR computer).


Parole Agent Brandon Lugar

I like to challenge myself, you know, to always try to better yourself.

I knew once you got on with the department there’s so many different areas you can go for advancement.

From the academy I went to Sacramento State Prison or some people know it as New Folsom.

There, you know, I got moved around quite a bit in New Folsom learning different job duties and what not and then from there I learned about parole, thought it was an interesting job, you know, so I decided to give it a try.

It’s something I actually liked doing and I enjoy doing.

In a sense it helped out a lot going to the prisons first, getting that sense of, you know, you’re a peace officer, public safety first that’s what your main concern is.

And then that secondary is, you know, you come out and you become the counselor and the mentor and all that.

There’s not too many law enforcement jobs where you can be too proactive and this is one of the jobs where you can one-hundred percent be proactive and you can pretty much look out for the community in a sense that your helping to rehabilitate these guys or at least guide them to the resources, lead them to the resources where they can help better themselves.

Take care, Frank.

I mean I like the custody aspect, I like working with different agencies, you know, we work with the local PD, ICE, FBI I’ve worked with them before so it’s pretty cool to be able to network.

It is definitely a busy office, you gotta think, San Francisco is a really touristy area.

You’re gonna have a lot of crimes is where you’re gonna see a lot of tourist areas. It makes for a busy city. It makes for a busy caseload.

We’re about to get our Chemical Agents training right now.

Well, I think we got picked because, well, I know I was the youngest one so I think they kinda used the young card on me

Training Sergeant

You doing push-ups?


We’ll see I guess, huh.

Yeah, we had the push-up bet, I think, we bet we could do so many push-ups and then he had to go and one-up me and do some more push-ups or something like that. But I hit my number I said I would hit (laughs).

When I first got to the office they took like a snapshot of me in that video and they started posting them all over the doors. You can still actually see some of them in here still to this day.

There’s a lot of highlights throughout my life so far within just a short amount of time. Graduating the academy, getting my degree, becoming a Parole Agent, getting married. I can’t leave that one out I’ll get slapped later on (laughs).

But it flies by so quick, you know, it doesn’t seem like it was that long ago, just six years.

I’d like to finish off my Master’s Degree, then there’s just pretty much try to promote to a PA two within the next few years and then just go from there.

There’s different positions you can branch off into. Don’t just limit yourself to whatever you’re applying to at the time, but know that you’re gonna, that you may have to better yourself later on to get these positions.

I love my job, what I’m doing now. So yeah, I’m pretty satisfied.