New Hanover County Sheriff's Department Earns National Accreditation

New Hanover County Sheriff's Department Earns National Accreditation Featured

By / Local News / Wednesday, 12 August 2015 04:00

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

NEW HANOVER CTY - New Hanover County Sheriff Ed McMahon announced his department has been awarded accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA)
A press conference was held on Monday August 10th, where McMahon gave credit to his office for starting the "lengthy process of accreditation" three years ago. He explained, "It is very gratifying to have an outside, independent Commission examine our agency and agree that we are conducting business according to industry best-practice. What better way to hold ourselves accountable.”
According to the Sheriff's Office, CALEA is considered the "International gold standard" for law enforcement operations and the certification demonstrates the Sheriff's office is using the best practices in providing a high level of service to citizens.
According to the Sheriff's Office, "The purpose of CALEA’s Accreditation Program is to improve the delivery of public safety services, primarily by: maintaining a body of standards, developed by public safety practitioners, covering a wide range of up-to-date public safety initiatives; establishing and administering an accreditation process; and recognizing professional excellence. Specifically, CALEA’s goals are to: Strengthen crime prevention
and control capabilities; Formalize essential management procedures; Establish fair and nondiscriminatory personnel practices; Improve service delivery; Solidify interagency cooperation and coordination; and Increase community and staff confidence in the agency."
According to the Sheriff's Office, the accreditation program provides public safety agencies the opportunity to voluntarily demonstrate that they meet an established set of professional standards which require an agency to develop a comprehensive, well thought out, uniform set of written directives.  The program also requires a preparedness program be put in place - so an agency is ready to address natural or man-made critical incidents.  The accreditation process also strengthens an agency’s accountability, both within the agency and the community, through a continuum of standards that clearly define authority, performance, and responsibilities.
Accreditation from CALEA can limit an agency’s liability and risk exposure because it demonstrates that internationally recognized
standards for law enforcement have been met, as verified by a team of independent outside CALEA-trained assessors.
With the certification, New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office joins only 5 other sheriff’s offices in the state in achieving the recognition.  The designation places the office in the top 5 percent of law enforcement agencies across the country.
Lieutenant Deputy Sheriff, Jerry Brewer explained the cost of obtaining accreditation was paid for with seized drug money paying 88% or $30,410 of the total cost of $34,474.
The Wilmington Police Department obtained Initial Accreditation on November 19, 2011 and reaccreditation on November 19, 2014.
The Carolina Beach Police Department is currently working towards accreditation budgeting $5,500 this year towards that effort.
Once an agency gains accreditation they are required to pay an annual fee to continue that accreditation which includes the estimated cost for future on-site assessments. That annual fee ranges from a few thousand dollars a year to over $6,000 a year for departments with more than 1,000 employees.

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