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With a new office complex up and running and the recent addition of several more positions at the sheriff’s office, Lancaster County Sheriff Barry Faile has a new goal in mind-national accreditation.
Two years after gaining state accreditation through the S.C. Law Enforcement Accreditation program, Faile and his staff are hoping to increase their national profile by earning accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA).
A team of CALEA assessors is scheduled to arrive Aug. 4 and examine all aspects of the sheriff's office in four basic areas: policy and procedures, management, operations and support services, according to a sheriff’s office press release.
Verification by the team that the sheriff's office meets CALEA’s state-of-the-art standards is part of a voluntary process to gain accreditation, which Faile said is a “highly prized recognition of public safety professional excellence.”
“I think being an accredited agency means that we are well managed, well trained and well prepared. It provides the blueprint that promotes efficient use of resources and improved service delivery,” said Faile on Monday, July 8. “Being accredited sets the framework of well-established practices and a system of accountability. It will set a solid foundation for the agency’s future.”
Faile said there are several other benefits of national accreditation, including reduced risk and liability insurance rates, financial incentives, support from other government officials and increased community advocacy.
As part of the on-site assessment process, Faile said agency personnel and members of the community are invited to offer comments at a public information session scheduled for Aug. 5. The public forum is 6 p.m. that day at the University of South Carolina Lancaster’s Carole Ray Dowling Health Services Building, 509 Hubbard Drive.
Though the results of the accreditation process won’t be known for several months following the visit, Faile said his office should have a general idea how it went once the assessment is complete.
“I’m pretty confident about it and I don’t foresee any problems,” Faile said. “Lt. Eric Brown and Jessica Walker are our accreditation team and they’ve really worked hard on this. They’ve worked nonstop.”
Faile said he’ s excited about it.
When you put yourself in the company of these other accredited agencies, that’s pretty good,” Faile said. “In the whole state there are 292 law enforcement agencies, and only 15 police departments and seven sheriff’s offices have this. To me that speaks pretty highly of our agency if we get this.”
Other ways to comment
Agency employees and the public can also provide comments to the assessment team by calling (803) 313-2193 from 2 to 4 p.m. Aug. 5.
Comments made by phone or at the public information session are limited to 10 minutes and must address the agency's ability to comply with CALEA's standards.
A copy of the Standards is available at the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office at 1520 Pageland Highway and the local contact is Lt. Eric Brown at (803) 313-2123.
Anyone wishing to submit written comments about the sheriff's office's ability to comply with the standards for accreditation may send them to the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc. (CALEA), 13575 Heathcote Boulevard, Suite 320, Gainesville, VA, 22030-2215 or at www.calea.org.
Contact reporter Chris Sardelli at (803) 416-8416