2010 NACo Achievement Award

You Can Make a Difference as a County of Orange Volunteer!

National Association of Counties (NACo)
2010 Achievement Award
Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Department

Airport Professional Services Responders

Begun in 1970, the NACO Annual Achievement Award recognizes innovative county government programs. Awards are given in a number of program categories such as arts and historic preservation, children and youth, community and economic development, jails-corrections, county administration, emergency management, environmental protection, health, human services, libraries, parks and recreation, transportation and volunteers.

"In spite of the difficult challenges this tough economy has presented us with, County departments and agencies have sought creative and more efficient ways to do business," said Supervisor Janet Nguyen, Chair of the Orange County Board of Supervisors. "This type of innovation is what keeps Orange County moving forward."


The mission of the Professional Services Responder Program for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Airport Operations Division is to assist, expand and enhance the services provided by the division to all citizens who utilize the transportation services of John Wayne Airport. The Professional Services Responders (PSRs) work alongside sworn and non-sworn personnel by being a readily deployable resource, who donates their time and expertise to meet the goals set forth by the division.

Need for the Program:

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department as many other state, county and local municipalities has been directly affected by diminishing yearly budgets and economic uncertainty. All divisions within the Sheriff’s Department have had to work together in maximizing our daily services while reducing our yearly costs. The PSR program of the Airport Operations Division was developed to utilize loyal and committed citizens of Orange County, who are willing to provide their professionalism, expertise and vigilance in safeguarding the John Wayne Airport for all to use.

Program Description:

The Professional Services Responder program was implemented by the Airport Operations Division at John Wayne Airport in May of 2007. The program began with 13 members and has grown to 50 dedicated members who provide the best possible professional services to the John Wayne Airport on a daily basis.

The primary objective of all PSRs at John Wayne Airport is to augment sworn personnel by assisting with airport security through observation and interaction with Sheriff’s Department personnel, airport and airline personnel, Transportation Security Administration officers and most importantly, with the patrons of the airport. As a member of the law enforcement community, the PSR’s role as a trained observer is to report and summon assistance from sworn law enforcement personnel. A PSR must always act in a manner that ensures his or her personal safety and the safety of all patrons at the airport.

The role of the PSR in the Airport Operations Division is an important one. They are utilized throughout the airport in almost all secure and non-secure areas. Generally, they are used exclusively in “public areas”, where they are in continual proximity to the public and passengers for direct interaction. The PSRs provide assistance and guidance to travelers who have illustrated a tendency to approach a clearly identified law enforcement representative for assistance or inquiries. The PSRs are easily identifiable to the public because their uniform consists of a black Polo type shirt with sheriff’s star and civilian responder insignia. The PSRs provide assistance to sworn personnel by providing an additional visual presence inside the terminal as well as outside along the roadways providing an extra layer of deterrence. PSRs also assist sworn personnel during special events and as first responders during natural disaster drills.

Professional Services Responders complete an employment application as required by the Professional Standards Bureau within the Sheriff’s Department. All PSRs are subjected to a complete background examination prior to being accepted. Once accepted, PSRs attend a basic orientation to familiarize themselves with the role of the responder, policies and procedures of the department and the opportunities that are afforded within the department.

After being interviewed and accepted to the Airport Operations Division, the PSRs receive additional training that is specific to aviation security. All PSRs attend the FAA mandated S.I.D.A. (Security Identification Display Area), which explains the rules and regulations regarding movement within the airport. All additional training received by the PSRs is done by the Airport Operations Training Deputy on a bi-monthly basis. PSRs are trained in radio procedure and etiquette as well as general updates of department rules and regulations. The PSRs are trained in CPR and airport emergency procedures.

Results/Successes of the Program:

Currently, 50 Professional Services Responders are assigned to Airport Operations. The 50-member PSR team donated a total of 1,171 hours in year 2007, 3,423 hours in year 2008 and 3,338 hours in year 2009. Professional Services Responders have donated approximately 8,000 hours since the inception of the program. Employing Professional Services Responders at John Wayne Airport has proven to be a highly successful program, valuable to both the Sheriff’s Department as well as to John Wayne Airport. They have demonstrated a strong passion for commitment and an unwavering desire to help the community.

Worthiness of Award:

The Professional Services Responder program has proven to be extremely valuable to the Airport Operations Division of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. The program provides the citizens of Orange County with a new service of trained, professional participants, who possess a strong desire to give back to their local community by augmenting law enforcement in their mission to provide the John Wayne Airport with a safe and secure environment.

Congratulations to the Airport Professional Services Responders for the distinguished honor of being selected as a recipient of the NACO 2010 Achievement Award!