911 Cen­ter re­ceives third ac­cred­i­ta­tion

The Covington News - - LOCAL NEWS - DANIELLE EVER­SON deverson@cov­news.com

The Cov­ing­ton-New­ton County 911 Cen­ter has re­ceived its third ac­cred­i­ta­tion from the Com­mis­sion on Ac­cred­i­ta­tion for Law En­force­ment Agen­cies.

The Cov­ing­ton-New­ton County 911 Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Cen­ter at­tended the CALEA Con­fer­ence in Jack­sonville, Fla., in Novem­ber, where they re­ceived their Gold Stan­dards ac­cred­i­ta­tion, ac­cord­ing to a re­lease from the com­mu­ni­ca­tions cen­ter.

The com­mu­ni­ca­tions cen­ter, which em­ploys 25 com­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­ni­cians to process its an­nual 124,000 calls for ser­vice, is the first pub­lic safety com­mu­ni­ca­tions cen­ter in Ge­or­gia and the sec­ond in the world, as­sessed un­der the new re­view stan­dards to re­ceive its Gold Stan­dards ac­cred­i­ta­tion.

In Ge­or­gia, the LaGrange Po­lice De­part­ment and the Athens/Clark County Po­lice De­part­ment are the only two other pub­lic safety agen­cies that have re­quested and re­ceived ac­cred­i­ta­tion un­der the GSA re­view process.

CALEA — an in­de­pen­dent ac­cred­i­ta­tion author­ity, which devel­oped in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­cepted pub­lic safety stan­dards — in­sti­tuted the Gold Stan­dards As­sess­ment in 2011. The new as­sess­ment process is more dif­fi­cult than the av­er­age CALEA as­sess­ment be­cause it holds agen­cies to a higher per­for­mance stan­dard.

Un­der the new as­sess­ment, an agency must vol­un­tar­ily re­quest per­mis­sion from CALEA to be as­sessed un­der the more strin­gent GSA and it works to mea­sure the im­pact of ac­cred­i­ta­tion as op­posed to sim­ply con­firm­ing com­pli­ance through a file-by-file re­view.

In ad­di­tion to strong or­ga­ni­za­tional health and an ab­sence of is­sues that de­tract from the pro­fes­sion­al­ism of the agency, the fol­low­ing gen­eral cri­te­ria must be met be­fore an agency may be con­sid­ered to par­tic­i­pate in the GSA process: The agency must have two pre­vi­ous ac­cred­i­ta­tion awards at the level of ac­cred­i­ta­tion cur­rently be­ing sought. The agency must must not have had com­pli­ance is­sues in most re­cent as­sess­ment. The agency must must not have had process man­age­ment is­sues in most re­cent as­sess­ment. The agency must must not cur­rently be un­der a con­sent de­cree or mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing.

Di­rec­tor Mike Smith said the com­mu­ni­ca­tions cen­ter was con­fi­dent in sub­ject­ing it­self to the more rig­or­ous and in­tru­sive as­sess­ment process.

“Our peo­ple are our strong­est as­set and we wanted the as­ses­sors to spend more time with them so they could see for them­selves how pro­fes­sional and ef­fec­tive they are and how the CALEA process has made our cen­ter bet­ter,” Smith said.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­lease, the pri­mary ben­e­fit of ac­cred­i­ta­tion is to ob­tain in­ter­na­tional ex­cel­lence and be­come an in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­cepted man­age­ment model that pro­vides bet­ter ser­vices to the com­mu­nity, con­trols agency li­a­bil­ity in­surance costs, fos­ters ad­min­is­tra­tive im­prove­ments through greater accountability and in­creases gov­ern­men­tal and com­mu­nity sup­port.

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