FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 13, 2023
CASSANDRA O’BRIEN HONORED AS CIVILIAN DETENTIONS EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR
GRAND COUNTY, CO – Sheriff Brett Schroetlin is excited and honored to share that on June 7, 2023, Cassandra O’Brien, Adult Diversion Coordinator / Case Manager and Jail Based Behavioral Services (JBBS) Pretrial Coordinator for the Grand County Sheriff’s Office, was recognized to receive the Civilian Employee of the Year Award at the JAILCON Western Regional Corrections Training Conference held in Chandler, Arizona. Organized and facilitated by the National Institute for Jail Operations (NIJO), JAILCON offered over 20 hours of corrections-specific training for sheriffs, correctional and jail administrators, line level, support and medical staff.
NIJO is dedicated to serving those who operate jails, detention and correctional facilities across the country. NIJO recognizes and understands the enormous liability and increasing litigation facing administrators and provides a compilation of legal-based resources and information to assist agencies in making facilities safer and more secure.
The Civilian Employee of the Year Award was awarded to a “non-certified” Detention employee serving in a support section of the Office who has who provided innovative ideas that enhanced the efficiency of the facility in line with the mission of the Office during the past year.
As the JBBS Coordinator, Cassandra helps individuals access mental health, substance use, psychiatry and release services during their incarceration and release. Cassandra also started a Medicated Assisted Treatment (MAT) program in the jail to assist individuals with their substance use. Cassandra began this newly grant funded position on December 1, 2020. She has many responsibilities including coordinating the JBBS program at the Grand County Sheriff’s Office which did not exist prior to the creation of her new position.
JBBS is a Colorado-wide program that began in October 2011. The program provides mental health and substance services to adults that are incarcerated. The program also assists with continuity of care and community reintegration after the person is released from custody. Not only do JBBS programs provide vital behavioral health services to Coloradans, they also help reduce recidivism and increase the chances for a successful reentry into society after incarceration.
In the Fall of 2022 Cassandra, recognized a vital need by inmates being released in our often cold and inclement weather associated with winter weather months in Colorado’s high country, Cassandra came up with the innovative idea of hosting a coat drive. A press release, corresponding social media posts and news stories were shared by the Grand County Sheriff’s Office to engage the community’s involvement. The overwhelmingly positive community response and coat donations received, has changed what was originally a month-long coat drive into a year-round project.
We believe that each coat has warmed and made a difference in the heart and soul of every life that has received its blessing. Not only has this project inspired and given our staff the ability to show care and compassion even as inmates are leaving our custody, but it has also provided a unique opportunity for outreach that supports continuity of care and truly meets the immediate needs of an individual.
As with any mountain tourist community, Grand County has inmates that are locals and tourists alike. The simple act of receiving a warm coat on a freezing night or day, and knowing it was donated by someone that was not judging, only caring, might make a world of difference in someone’s life. That someone could be anyone, from anywhere. Afterall, does anyone truly plan on being incarcerated?
Cassandra’s servant heart shines brightly and the Grand County Sheriff’s Office and Grand County community are blessed and honored to have her working in her position and serving our inmate population.
Cassandra is also the Adult Diversion Coordinator / Case Manager for the 14th Judicial District for Grand County, Routt County and Moffat County.