Agency Achieves Best CALEA Rating Since Enrolling in the Process
LA PLATA, Md. (Sept. 13, 2010)—After an extensive on-site audit by the Commission on the Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), the Charles County Sheriff's Office is a contender for the Commission's highest honor - Flagship Agency - according to preliminary results of the assessment, announced Sheriff Rex W. Coffey.
Agencies marked by the Flagship status are considered the best of the best; when law enforcement agencies begin seeking accreditation, CALEA refers them to the Flagship agencies so planners can observe "best practices," according to CALEA officials. The Sheriff's Office was first accredited in 2001 and although it maintained its accredited status in audits in 2004 and 2007, this marks the first audit in which the Agency has been a flagship contender.
"This is about as good as it gets," said Chief Roy Liddicott of the Broward County Sheriff's Office in Florida and one of two assessors from CALEA who came to the agency for the assessment. "The Charles County Sheriff's Office is run by good people who have a great deal of passion and it shows."
Lt. John Dolan, Commander of the Professional Standards Unit from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, in Jefferson County, Missouri, said, "We interviewed the Sheriff, his command staff, officers, civilian employees and people out in the community and the general consensus is that the Agency brings about a high level of professionalism to Charles County." Both assessors reviewed more than 400 standards and found zero file-maintenance issues and zero applied-discretion issues.
"To achieve this status is remarkable," said Sheriff Coffey, "and it's a testament to the work performed day in and day out by our dedicated employees," Coffey said. "Under the leadership of Captain Rob Cleaveland, Commander of Executive Services, the direction of Mr. Danny Johnson, Deputy Director of Planning and Accreditation and with assistance from Ms. Carol Davis and Ms. Reagan Henehan, Civilian Planners in Planning and Accreditation, the Agency met a standard that's difficult to achieve."
"During the static display and facility tour on Sunday morning, the assessors were exceedingly impressed with all of our facilities, processes, operations and personnel," said Johnson. "Each person they talked with was professional and remarkably knowledgeable about Agency operations and their jobs. Later, during their stay, the assessors talked with many sworn and civilian personnel throughout the Agency and they attended roll calls and went on a ride-along at each district station. They were truly impressed with everyone they met," said Johnson.
WHAT IS CALEA?
The CALEA on-site assessment provides an independent, objective peer review of the agency's programs and practices, allowing for constructive feedback for further improvements. And, the peer review is an excellent forum for sharing ideas. The assessors, all experienced law enforcement professionals, bring ideas from their own agencies and from other agencies they've reviewed.
The assessment process requires an agency to undergo an in-depth review of its management, administration, operations, and support services in comparison to professional standards. When the agency identifies a deficiency, it creates or revises policies and procedures to correct the situation before a problem occurs.
WHY IS ACCREDITATION SO IMPORTANT?
CALEA standards require the agency to establish a reporting process for monitoring and measuring performance. This ensures continual growth and improvement and a method to confirm an agency is practicing what it has established in the written directives system.
"As an agency leader, I look forward to these assessments as a report card. This is essential information as our Agency faces the challenges of the next century," said Sheriff Coffey.
CALEA audits accredited agencies every three years to ensure the agencies continue to meet the Commission's many standards of professional excellence.
Source: Charles County Sheriff's Office