FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office has regained the “blue ribbon seal of approval” by receiving national accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, or CALEA.
The standards for accreditation are acknowledged as benchmarks by law enforcement executives and major law enforcement associations. The commission is an independent agency founded by the leading law enforcement organizations across the world.
Sheriff Ron Freeman said the accreditation requires a rigorous review of an agency’s internal operating procedures, policies and actions to insure they meet the best practices and standards of the law enforcement profession.
“It is not a government oversight that tells us what to do or requires deputies to do extra paperwork or actions, it is a continual review process that forces us to look at our best practices and be proactive in the service we provide Forsyth County citizens,” Freeman said.
Only a small percentage of law enforcement agencies receive the accreditation, which is valid for four years.
The Sheriff’s Office held its national accreditation for over a decade until former Sheriff Duane Piper decided to withdraw from the program during a re-accreditation review in 2015.
But his successor took a different tack, calling the distinction important for the county and its residents.
In July 2017, the department had an onsite review by an outside panel of CALEA assessors. Freeman appeared before the full commission in November to testify and answer questions. At the conclusion of that testimony, Freeman said they were notified they were being awarded the accreditation.
The accreditation is an assurance that the Sheriff’s Office is willing to let a group of outside assessors evaluate their performance and abilities to ensure citizens of their competence and professionalism, Freeman said. Just as schools, hospitals or industries have esteemed accreditations or certifications, CALEA can help solidify the trust that the Sheriff’s Office is continually reviewing best practices and procedures, he said.
“It is proof to our citizens and employees that we have the ability and have proven that we can meet the highest standards in the industry,” Freeman said. “It is proof of a professional organization and recognition of the incredibly hard work that the employees of the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office perform every day to keep Forsyth County and our citizens safe. I am incredibly proud of their work and humbled to work alongside them.”