BCSO earns reaccreditation
Published 9:17 pm Saturday, August 4, 2012
For the next three years, the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office will be recognized as an internationally accredited law enforcement agency.
The award was issued July 21 by CALEA, the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies at the CALEA conference in Scottsdale, Ariz. Sheriff Alan Jordan, Maj. Kenneth Watson and accreditation manager for the BCSO, Mary Daniels, attended the conference.
Gaining accreditation means a law enforcement agency of the BCSO’s size must adhere to 383 rigid standards set down by CALEA, then generate reports to the overseeing organization that give an accounting of the day to day operations of the sheriff’s office — how the office responds to calls, keeps up with statistics, limits liability to the office and county, vehicle pursuits, encourages minority representation and protects the rights of its employees, among them.
While a list of 383 standards does not seem like a tremendous number, Maj. Kenneth Watson said that each standard may have up to ten bulleted requirements beneath it.
“There are actually many standards within the standards, so you’re probably looking at more than a thousand standards,” Watson explained.
CALEA began in 1980 as a collaboration of four different professional agencies: the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), the National Sheriff’s Association (NSA) and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). What the organization created was standardized professional guidelines as to how to operate a law enforcement agency.
Compliance with the standards is not a one-time affair, a press release from the sheriff’s office stated. Each agency is required to undergo the accreditation process every three years. Of the 100 counties in North Carolina, only four other counties—Durham, Forsyth, Cumberland and Hoke—have been awarded accredited status.
The status is important for law enforcement because it means that agencies are up on the latest policy development and on the front end of changes in law enforcement, whether in procedure or the law themselves, said Watson.
July’s CALEA conference was one such place where law enforcement officers nationwide gathered to learn about CALEA process and policy development, see the latest technology in law enforcement and tour the TASER manufacturing facility located in Scottsdale, according to Watson.
More valuable to Watson, however, was the ability to network with other law enforcement leaders and professionals.
“We shared our successes, we shared stuff that didn’t work,” said Watson. “That kind of networking allows us to bring new ideas back to our agency.”
For more information about the process of CALEA standards, visit CALEA.org.