Pub­lic praises sher­iff’s of­fice dur­ing reac­cred­i­ta­tion process

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By AN­DREW RICHARD­SON arichard­son@somd­news.com

Sev­eral cit­i­zens and com­mu­nity lead­ers spoke at a pub­lic com­ment ses­sion held on Mon­day as the Charles County Sher­iff’s Of­fice seeks its sixth reac­cred­i­ta­tion by the Com­mis­sion on Ac­cred­i­ta­tion for Law En­force­ment Agen­cies. Each CALEA ac­cred­i­ta­tion, which is vol­un­tary, lasts for three years and, upon re­newal, a team of as­ses­sors in­spects all as­pects of the agency to en­sure the com­mis­sion’s stan­dards con­tinue to be met.

Among those who spoke were Kim­berly Hill, su­per­in­ten­dent of

Charles County Pub­lic Schools; Jan­ice Wil­son, NAACP branch pres­i­dent; Chief Carl Schin­ner of La Plata Town Po­lice and sev­eral others, who all spoke highly of the sher­iff’s of­fice.

Hill told the as­sess­ment team she was proud to speak about the in­cred­i­ble part­ner­ship be­tween the sher­iff’s of­fice and the school sys­tem. She ex­pressed how valu­able it is to have a stu­dent re­source of­fi­cer sta­tioned at each pub­lic school in the county. Their out­stand­ing re­la­tion­ship was built over time, she said, and “the [stu­dent re­source of­fi­cers] have cre­ated a cul­ture of trust in our schools.”

“When some­thing hap­pens in the com­mu­nity, I know I can call Sher­iff [Troy] Berry, and we can talk,” said Wil­son, who praised the agency on its ef­fec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion and re­la­tion­ship-build­ing ini­tia­tives with the county. She also told the as­ses­sors about the full tour that was given to her and about 15 other NAACP mem­bers in March, which in­cluded a Taser de­ploy­ment demon­stra­tion, a judg­men­tal shoot­ing sim­u­la­tion and an in­side look at the de­ten­tion cen­ter.

Schin­ner com­mended the sher­iff’s of­fice for be­ing “very com­mu­nity ori­en­tated” and “mis­sion-driven.” He also said how well the two agen­cies col­lab­o­rate to­gether, although “the true re­la­tion­ship can­not be spelled on pa­per.” In ad­di­tion to con­duct­ing joint-agency traf­fic op­er­a­tions, he said the sher­iff’s of­fice has also as­sisted in var­i­ous in­ves­ti­ga­tions when ad­di­tional re­sources are needed.

On Tues­day af­ter­noon, the as­sess­ment team also took phone calls from those un­able to speak on Mon­day night.

On Wed­nes­day, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the Mary­land In­de­pen­dent will be in­ter­viewed by the as­ses­sors on the ef­fec­tive­ness of the sher­iff’s of­fice me­dia re­la­tions.

Once the as­sess­ment has con­cluded, the team will present its find­ings to the com­mis­sion to de­ter­mine if the sher­iff’s of­fice has con­tin­ued to com­ply with CALEA stan­dards.

STAFF PHOTO BY AN­DREW RICHARD­SON

Sher­iff Troy Berry ad­dresses and thanks com­mu­nity lead­ers be­fore they were given a chance to speak to the Com­mis­sion on Ac­cred­i­ta­tion for Law En­force­ment Agen­cies as­sess­ment team on Mon­day night.

STAFF PHOTO BY AN­DREW RICHARD­SON

Jan­ice Wil­son, pres­i­dent of the Charles County NAACP branch, com­mended the sher­iff’s of­fice on its ef­fec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion and open­ness.

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