Juvenile Services hosts a broad series of programs that covers early intervention programs, investigations, school violence prevention, and juvenile diversion. It also includes outreach and community forum programs like Is Your Teen at Risk? that informs parents about issues they need to be knowledgeable about.
Juvenile Services is overseen by the South Patrol Bureau commander, and includes two sergeants, four deputy sheriffs, and juvenile investigators and investigative assistants from each of the Sheriff’s Department Contract City partners and unincorporated areas. It further includes the contract partnership with Pepperdine University for the PRYDE (Pepperdine Resource Youth Diversion and Education) program that brings diversion programs and clinicians from the university to address early intervention and mental health issues.
School Mobile Assessment and Resource Team (SMART)
The School Mobile Assessment and Resource Team is utilized in school situations and incidents related to violence, threats, possession and/or use of weapons, unstable behaviors, and suicidal actions or tendencies. SMART works in conjunction with school officials, the Probation Department, the District Attorney’s Office, and mental health agencies to help resolve safety issues and concerns involving all personnel associated to schools. SMART is comprised of a sergeant, an investigator, and two deputies. The team responds at the request of law enforcement personnel or school administration to provide services and resources, including threat assessments, criminal investigation, case management and referrals to mandatory counseling, where deemed appropriate. The goal of SMART is to evaluate and assess each incident individually, effectively resolve the matter through the least intrusive means available (while still maintaining safety and security to the school), and ultimately return the staff and students to their daily routine. For the years 2011 and 2012, the SMART team responded to 402 calls for service, conducted 309 threat assessments, made 77 arrests, and confiscated 87 weapons.
Juvenile Services Bureau (JSB)
The Juvenile Services Bureau (JSB) works to provide comprehensive investigative, counseling, rehabilitation and referral services to area youths that come in contact with law enforcement. In concert with the goals of the Juvenile Court System to rehabilitate youthful offenders, the Juvenile Services Bureau of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department works in a collaborative effort with the Orange County Juvenile Probation Department to divert selected juvenile offenders away from the criminal justice system into alternative programs.
The JSB Sergeant acts as a program coordinator for the School Resource Officers throughout the county. SRO’s collaborate on ongoing student trends, problems at schools, and efforts to provide appropriate service to the student and administrative customers they serve.
JSB staff work hand-in-hand with probation officers, the juvenile court, and psychologists from Pepperdine University’s Pepperdine Resource Youth Diversion and Education (PRYDE) program. The JSB sergeant operates as the liaison between the PRYDE Program and the Sheriff’s department. The sergeant also coordinates Sheriff’s Department efforts with the Orange County Board of Education, Juvenile Justice Commission, and several local school districts including Tustin Unified, Saddleback Unified, and Capistrano Unified School Districts on a variety of projects, issues, and programs.
Each juvenile case assigned to the JSB, is tailored based on the nature of the crime, background of the offender, school attendance, grades, family issues, and other considerations. The case is then assigned to one of eight investigators or one investigative aide for review.
Cases that meet the criteria necessary for diversion are referred to the PRYDE Counselors for review and possible follow-up. Cases that are not referred for diversion are generally crimes of violence, cases that involve a pattern of criminal history, or cases wherein the juvenile offender has already participated in the PRYDE Program on a prior case. Cases referred to PRYDE diversion may be rejected due to non-compliance with PRYDE Counselors recommendations or treatment plans. Cases that are rejected by PRYDE or ineligible for diversion due to the nature of the offense, are returned to investigations staff, completed, and petitioned to the Juvenile Court for Prosecution.
The Juvenile Services Bureau’s area of responsibility extends to all areas of Sheriff’s jurisdiction throughout Orange County. The Juvenile Services Bureau program is housed at the Sheriff’s Aliso Viejo Station.
Pepperdine Resource Youth Diversion and Education (PRYDE)
In an effort to divert first-time juvenile offenders from the impacted Juvenile Justice System, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department is proud to announce its ongoing partnership with Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology. The PRYDE Program prevention, intervention, and counseling programs are available at no costs to at-risk youths and their families in all cities and unincorporated areas of Orange County. The program focuses on providing services and resources that help youth and their families make positive changes in their lives. PRYDE emphasizes education, family involvement and community support to give youth the tools and opportunities to accomplish their goals.
Juveniles can enter the PRYDE Program through one of three ways; The first is through a law enforcement contact that would normally result in the teenager’s referral to the Juvenile Justice System. Teens who are eligible for the program are generally first time offenders for non-violent crimes such as theft. The other two ways that juveniles can enter the PRYDE program are through a referral from a school administrator or teacher, and by referral from their parents. All three different methods by which juveniles are referred to the program begin with a comprehensive intake assessment. During the intake, PRYDE’s diversion specialists determine the appropriate services to provide or recommend to the juvenile and their family. Some of these services might include counseling, legal awareness or substance abuse education, or communication and problem solving training to name just a few. PRYDE also maintains an active list of other services and resources that may meet an individual or family’s needs. For more information about these referral services and groups recommended by the PRYDE Program or for information about the program itself, please click the heading above.
School Resource Officer Program (SRO)
The School Resource Officer (SRO) Program places uniformed officers within educational institutions to meet a variety of needs. Although the SRO’s are predominantly assigned to Middle or High Schools that are located in the Sheriff’s jurisdiction of Orange County, they also respond to elementary and private education institutions within their areas. They generally wear uniform polo shirts to make them identifiable yet approachable for students and staff. In their assignment at the school, the SRO’s meet many needs including strengthening relationships between youth and law enforcement, forging cooperative relationships with school staff to meet a variety of student needs, and augmenting existing safety and security planning at our schools. SRO’s handle criminal as well as social problems that occur with our youth and regularly attend sporting events, school functions, and parent meetings while still enforcing criminal laws. An SRO’s average day might include:
- Driving to the home of a student who hasn’t attended school in several days and messages at the house go unanswered to check on their whereabouts and condition of the student
- Presenting a class on teen violence, bullying or drug education to students or staff
- Attending administrative meetings with school staff on a variety of topics from current trends to upcoming school events
- Reviewing school site safety plans for accuracy or potential issues
- Mentoring a student on a variety of issues from family problems, to career opportunities, to solutions to deal with interpersonal issues within their peer group
- Conducting an initial criminal investigation into a simple theft, assault, or online instances of harassment or threatening statements
- Responding to actual criminal acts occurring on the campus
Throughout all their activities, the fourteen senior patrol deputies assigned to the program provide a much needed partnership relationship between the individual school districts, school staff, and the students within the institutions. In their unique position side-by-side with educators, the SRO’s have the opportunity to act in a proactive way to defuse some incidents prior to them becoming significant or before they even occur.
The SRO Programs day-to-day management is handled by patrol operations and it is coordinated by the Juvenile Services Bureau Sergeant. SRO’s are assigned throughout the Sheriff’s Jurisdiction from San Clemente in South County, to Villa Park in the North.
Is Your Teen at Risk?
What Every Parent Needs to Know
Being a teenager can be difficult. Good kids eager to grow up sometimes fall in with the wrong crowd, are confronted with situations they don’t know how to handle, or end up in the wrong place at the wrong time. And being a parent to a teenager can be equally as challenging. Both teens and parents can find answers to important questions at the community forum of called “Is Your Teen at Risk?” The forums are generally presented in the evenings but daytime presentations are also held.
The Is Your Teen at Risk program is a collaborative effort between the Orange County Sheriff's Department, Orange County Fire Authority, California Highway Patrol, the Capistrano Unified School District, PTSA and others who serve our youth and are working together to educate the community on keeping our teens safe. A panel of speakers will address concerns specific to the community. Current street drug trends, substance abuse, teen driving, internet safety and school violence prevention are among discussion topics. This is not designed to be a "scared straight" kind of event. We hope to create a dialogue that fosters open communication between parents and their teens on topics that are often difficult, but necessary to discuss. Following the presentation parents will have the opportunity to visit several resource booths and talk with professionals firsthand. Resource providers include agencies working in the field of health care, education, social services, law enforcement, and prevention/intervention programs to name a few.
In 2007, three Is Your Teen at Risk programs were held locally with great success. The program formats vary from a large group setting hosting multiple presenters, to a “breakout session” format with specific topics presented to smaller groups. Each format has its advantages to bring information to the parents of teens.
Don't miss this opportunity to become more informed. For more information please contact the Sheriff’s Department Juvenile Services Bureau at 949-425-1900 to inquire about hosting a forum or to find upcoming events.
For more information on Gil and Flo Mulhere’s presentation on teen substance abuse please visit http://www.calyouthservices.org/
For more information about Gillian Sabet or to see information related to teen distracted driving please visit http://www.journeysafe.com/
For more information about the CHP “Start Smart” teen driving education please visit http://www.chp.ca.gov/community/startsmart.html
Additional Links & Resources
The following links are offered as a service to our communities as potential resources. The Sheriff’s Department does not endorse or support any of the following sites or informational resources and is not responsible for accuracy or suitability.
Traffic and Driver Safety Links
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration http://www.nhtsa.gov/
- NHTSA is the federal government's primary source for all types of traffic safety information, from statistics to driving tips.
- California Office of Traffic Safety http://www.ots.ca.gov/
- OTS provides California specific information for road safety issues and also includes numerous links to related Web sites.
- Safer Car http://www.safercar.gov/
- This federal government site includes information on crash tests, safety ratings and recall information.
- National Safety Council http://www.nsc.org/
- The National Safety Council site helps to educate and influence people to prevent accidental injury and death.
- Insurance Institute for Highway Safety http://www.iihs.org/
- Funded by a consortium of insurance companies, this organization provides comprehensive information on vehicle safety ratings for vehicles.
- NETS (Network of Employers for Traffic Safety) http://www.trafficsafety.org/
- NETS focuses on work place related traffic safety information.
Substance Abuse and Statistics
- Street Drugs http://www.streetdrugs.org/
- An informational resource providing signs of drug use and an identification index for commonly found street drugs
- Underage Drinking in California http://www.safestate.org/index.cfm?navid=441
- Tips for Parents: Underage Drinking in California… The report on Alcohol Abuse by Teens from the Governor of California’s Prevention Advisory Council, Underage Drinking Prevention Workgroup
- SafeState.org http://www.safestate.org/
- The California Attorney General’s Crime and Violence Prevention Center main page containing information on Child Abuse, Gangs, Drug and Alcohol Abuse, teen violence, etc.
- National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence: http://www.ncadd.org/
National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) provides education, information, help, and hope to the public. It advocates prevention, intervention, and treatment through a nationwide network of Affiliates.