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Medal for Merit: OCSD Sergeant grows program focused on school safety

Medal for Merit: OCSD Sergeant grows program focused on school safety 

Sergeant Darren Braham was assigned to the Juvenile Justice Services Bureau where he oversees the School Mobile Assessment and Resources Team (SMART) and serves as the Department’s School Resource Officer (SRO) Coordinator.  After being sworn into office, Sheriff Barnes announced his first five public safety initiatives.  Initiative 1 was titled, Vigilance and Protecting our Community.  This comprehensive initiative included school safety and the creation of the Orange County School Threat Assessment Team (OCSTAT).  This program is a unique collaboration between the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, Probation Department and the Department of Education.  Its primary task is to reduce the risk of targeted violence in Orange County schools through the formalization of comprehensive protocols for the school districts, law enforcement and mental health professionals. 

Sergeant Braham serves as the chairperson for this program and, as such, he was tasked with drafting the first Orange County School Protocol.  This protocol helps identify individuals whose behavior causes concern.  It facilitates transparent and timely communication and collaboration between the stakeholders.  It also ensures a thorough threat assessment is conducted and the individual is referred to the appropriate services. 

In addition, Sergeant Braham was instrumental in securing funding through the Orange County Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council to provide specialized training to local law enforcement agencies, school districts, county personnel and private sector partners.  He authored a grant and attended all meetings associated with obtaining $3.2 million in funding.  His efforts in securing this additional funding resulted in the creation of a North County SMART team.  If that wasn’t enough, he is also in the process of developing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and agencies willing to participate in the program.