Team effort pays off for sheriff’s office

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There’s plenty of reason for an upbeat attitude at the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office these days. The sheriff’s office recently received its accreditation.
The achievement earned Lancaster County the distinction of being the 44th state law enforcement agency of 290 statewide to earn its accreditation and the only the 11th state sheriff’s office to reach the elite status.
The accreditation means the sheriff’s office is a more professional agency, increasing officer morale and providing better service for county residents.
“This a very important day for the sheriff’s office and for Lancaster County,” Lancaster County Sheriff Barry Faile said. “Being an accredited agency recognizes our commitment to leadership, professionalism, standards and accountability.”
The accreditation program, which began in 1999, is an initiative of the S.C. Sheriff’s Association and the S.C. Police Chiefs Association.
By meeting specific criteria, as well as other successful inspections of the agency, the program is meant to increase an agency’s capabilities, provide better department management and increase effectiveness and efficiency of services delivered.
Berkeley County Sheriff Wayne DeWitt made the presentation to Faile at a ceremony at the Carole Ray Dowling Center at the University of South Carolina at Lancaster in mid-March.
DeWitt recalled when he met with Faile two years ago and his strong drive to see the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office reach the goal.
DeWitt said a pair of tough inspectors was impressed when they visited the Lancaster County office.
“They came back and said everything went so smooth and we were so well-treated,” DeWitt said. “They said everybody had the greatest morale and all we can report to you is an excellent report. They passed with flying colors.”
The department’s work and preparation paid dividends, as Faile expected.
“When I created this as a goal for us, I knew we’d attain it because of the dedicated men and women at the sheriff’s office,” Faile said. “All of the officers and staff can take credit for this accomplishment. We did it as a team.”
Lancaster County Councilman Larry Honeycutt was elated with the accomplishment.
“It’s great for the sheriff’s office and wonderful for Lancaster County that we’ve been recognized as one of the best in the state,” Honeycutt said. “We’ve got a dynamic young sheriff and he’s determined to make this a sheriff’s department we can be proud of.”
As good as the honor is, it’s a situation where the accreditation has to be renewed every three years.
If we know Sheriff Faile, the officers and staff, we know they’re happy, but already focused on keeping their new-found status as a top priority.