Sheriff’s office earns high marks from CALEA
Agency reviewed by independent assessors, meets gold standard
After opening up its agency and allowing an independent law enforcement assessment team to review all aspects of its operations, the Charles County Sheriff’s Office has received its sixth reaccreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, or CALEA, af- ter passing the gold standard assessment.
Each CALEA accreditation, which is voluntary, typically lasts for three years and, upon renewal, a team of assessors thoroughly inspects the agency, inter- viewing personnel, local community members and media, to ensure the commission’s standards continue to be met.
Sheriff Troy Berry (D) told the Maryland Independent how proud he was of his staff, and em- phasized that the accreditation is by no means a “rubber-stamp.”
“This is a true testament of what the staff members do each and everyday,” Berry said. “We provide superior service to the citizens of this county and anyone who works here or visits here. So that’s a significant
accomplishment, and it makes me very proud that it was done on a col- lective basis.”
“There was a lot of hard work that went into it,” he added.
After receiving its fourth accreditation in 2010, the sheriff’s office became a “flagship agency” of CALEA, the highest honor the commission awards.
“We had a gold standard assessment which we passed again with fly- ing colors, and we had a very good final report from our assessors,” said Danny Johnson, deputy director of planning and accreditation.
“[The assessment is] completely voluntary. No law enforcement agency has to be involved in this process.”
“The whole agency is responsible for meeting the standards,” he added, “and the Charles County Sheriff’s Office has done an outstanding job. We’ve got some really good people.”
The assessment team, which has no connection with the sheriff’s office, toured the agency for a series of days in early August, and held a public comment session where anyone from the community could offer compliments, or complaints. However, there was nothing but positive feedback.
Among those who spoke were Kimberly Hill, superintendent of Charles County Public Schools; Janice Wilson, NAACP Charles County 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 demonstra- tion, a judgmental shoot- ing 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.
The assessment team also interviewed a representative of the Mary- land Independent about the effectiveness of the sheriff’s office media relations.
After returning its findings to the commission, the sheriff’s office received its sixth accredita- tion at the CALEA confer- ence in Charlestown, S.C. in early November.
Charles County Sheriff’s Office officials receive their accreditation during the CALEA, Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, conference in Charlestown, S.C., in early November. The agency received high marks during its “gold standard assessment” from the independent assessment team. From left is W. Craig Hartley Jr., executive director of Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc. sheriff’s office Capt. Stephen Salvas, Major David Saunders, Sheriff Troy Berry, Reagan Henehan (accreditation coordinator), Danny Johnson (deputy director for planning and accreditation), Phillip Hinkle (chief of staff), Brian Eley (director of the administrative services division) Sgt. John A. Burroughs, Sgt. Jonathan Burroughs and Richard W. Myers, chief of police with the Newport News Police Department, Virginia, and chairman of the commission.