The Oktibbeha County Sheriff’s Department is in the process of attaining accreditation from The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, a move it says will mean a better department for its citizens.
CALEA officials visited the sheriff’s department last week to perform a “mock” accreditation. During their time at the department, representatives reviewed the local agency’s policies and procedures. The accreditors will return in November to not only review the department’s policies and procedures, but to review training records as well. The Sheriff’s Department must produce records and photos proving their deputies are up to date on all their necessary skills.
Chief Deputy Chadd Garnett said the department has set up a rigorous training plan for 2012 and 2013 including firearms training, defensive training, legal updates and law enforcement ethics.
When CALEA returns to the department for three days in November, they will spent their time pouring over records and interviewing officers on their knowledge and proficiency of the standard operating procedures. On the first day, CALEA will first determine if the department’s standards meet all 123 standards required by the accrediting agency. Garnett said the department’s standard operating procedures have been tweaked and rewritten to match CALEA’s guidelines.
On the second day, five Starkville citizens will be interviewed by the accreditors, asking for their input and opinions of the sheriff’s department. The accreditors will also ride along with various deputies and observe how their job performance.
On the final day, CALEA representative will tour the sheriff’s department, 911 and the Starkville Police Department’s Firing Range, which the sheriff’s department uses as well. The divisions of the department, such as patrol and investigations, will then be interviewed on their knowledge of the SOP.
If the department passes the three-day test, they will achieve accreditation.
The Starkville Police Department and Mississippi State Police Department are also accredited departments. Starkville is state accredited through the Mississippi Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission. They will receive their national certification through CALEA in November.
Clay County Sheriff Eddie Scott said his department is also looking into becoming accredited through CALEA.
Sarah Fowler covered crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.
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