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Sheriff Don Barnes on how a School Mobile Assessment and Resource Team is averting violence

This Southern California agency is implementing early intervention to prevent potential school safety threats from materializing into violence

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Statistically, school shootings are not a regular occurrence, but they are alarming tragedies that we all need to do our best to prevent.

Two decades ago, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department in Southern California launched its School Mobile Assessment and Resource Team (SMART), a multi-discipline, threat assessment team that responds to incidents related to violence, threats of violence, possession and/or use of weapons, unstable behaviors, suicidal actions, or tendencies that pose a threat to others at K-12 schools. The team includes a mental health clinician to take part in the assessments and connect those students who need it with the appropriate resources.

In this episode of Policing Matters, host Jim Dudley speaks with Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes about the work of the team, which handled nearly 300 threat assessments and calls for service during the 2021-2022 school year. In addition to addressing threats, SMART also works to ensure school staff is trained to recognize the signs of a threat. To date, approximately 480 administrators and school site personnel have received this training.

This episode of the Policing Matters Podcast is sponsored by L3Harris. Providing coverage that goes beyond the call of duty, L3 Harris provides ultra-reliable portables and mobiles that are designed by and for those on the front lines. Learn more at  Communications for Police and Law Enforcement | L3Harris™ Fast. Forward.

School safety resources from Police1


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Policing Matters law enforcement podcast with host Jim Dudley features law enforcement and criminal justice experts discussing critical issues in policing