Sher­iff’s of­fice earns high marks from CALEA

Agency re­viewed by in­de­pen­dent as­ses­sors, meets gold stan­dard

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

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.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

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.

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