The Orange County Sheriff’s Department increased its patrol presence at local schools in the aftermath of Friday’s Connecticut school shooting that took 28 lives.
“While the tragic events in Newtown, Conn., appear to be isolated, deputies will have an increased presence at local schools,” said Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families and all affected by this tragedy.”
Hutchens released a statement Friday afternoon assuring parents and students that the department has programs in place to prevent and respond to similar attacks.
“The Orange County Sheriff’s Department has a sophisticated, integrated response plan to act quickly and protect citizens in the event of a local emergency. The department’s highly-trained specialty units include a Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT), Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT), Mobile Field Force, School Resource Officers (SROs), and School Mobile Assessment Resource Team (SMART),” she wrote. “The Orange County Sheriff’s Department has a strong, collaborative relationship with local schools. Deputy Sheriffs, known as School Resource Officers (SROs), are on the campus of many schools on a daily basis. SROs work in partnership with school administrators on ongoing student trends, problems at schools and efforts to provide appropriate services to students and school administrators.”
She also touted the department’s School Mobile Assessment Resource Team (SMART) that works with school officials to resolve threats or safety issues and is used in instances of school violence, threats, possession or use of weapons, unstable behaviors and suicidal actions.
“We encourage the community to be vigilant and partner with us to report suspicious activity by calling the Orange County Sheriff’s Department at (714) 647-7000 or (949) 770-6011,” she added. “If you have a tip to report and wish to remain anonymous, call Orange County Crime Stoppers at 1-855-TIP-OCCS (847-6227).”