Brian Nissen

Orange County Sheriff's Department

Drug Recognition Expert

Brian Nissen joined the Orange County Sheriff’s Department in 1996 and retired in 2014.  He is very well recognized and decorated in the field and is often credited as a leader and mentor among his colleagues.  He was awarded the distinguished Metal of Merit by the Sheriff’s Department in 2010 for his integral part in the development of a one-of-a-kind, fully functional courtroom (CJ-1) within the Central Men’s Jail.  The court facility is capable of processing 350 cases daily and has gained notoriety and praise from the Superior Court, the District Attorney’s Office, the Public Defender’s Office, and the Board of Supervisors.  In addition to leading the operations within CJ-1, Brian is a drug recognition expert for the department and for the past 12 years has been one of the primary instructors at the Orange County Sheriff’s Training Academy teaching courses on jail procedures, weapons and contraband, street drug trends and narcotics, etc.

Brian has been an integral part of California Youth Services for over ten years. In 2002 he founded our Decisions Legal Awareness Program which impacts over 150 adolescents and their parents every year by providing them with reality based education regarding the legal consequences of their behaviors and decision making and examples of how those consequences will impact their family and their future. For his innovative ideas in the development of the Decisions program he earned a nomination for Entrepreneur of the Year in 2006 by the Orange County Business Journal.  Brian provides valuable program instruction at our Juvenile Alcohol & Drug Education (JADE) Program, our Collegiate Drug and Alcohol Program (CDAP), and is a frequent guest speaker throughout the county at various middle schools, high schools, and community forums providing parent education regarding substance use/abuse and local drug trends among adolescents.  Brian’s professionalism, dedication, ambition, and motivation to educate and help others are evident in all of his endeavors.  He is a valuable asset to CYS and its mission and we are extremely proud, fortunate, and grateful to work in collaboration with a professional that continually displays a high level of passion, consideration, and expertise.   

Excellent information on drugs and even better parental advice.
— JADE parent
Brian was very thorough, helpful, and gave realistic ideas on prevention, detection, etc.
— JADE parent
He was funny and positive yet taught us SO much.
— DECISIONS student