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sheriff’s office receives accreditation


Bos_Palmer_Spezze[1]Chaffee County Sheriff Pete Palmer today announced the agency has been awarded accreditation through the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police Professional Standards Program.  The sheriff’s office becomes one of forty-three Colorado agencies presently enjoying this status. 

Colorado’s professional standards for law enforcement agencies were first developed by a committee of the state’s police chiefs in 1985.  County sheriffs later joined in the effort and in 1995 the two organizations jointly adopted a completed set of combined standards applicable to police and sheriffs’ offices in Colorado.  These are reviewed annually and revised as needed

Professional standards are statements of minimum requirements adopted by the chiefs and sheriffs associations with the intent to more clearly define the role and responsibilities of a Colorado peace officer and to enhance the quality of services provided. They incorporate a professional code of ethics and establish policies recognized by law enforcement practitioners as representative of best practices in the field.  Adoption of standards is crucial to the pursuit of professionalism in any law enforcement organization.

For the Chaffee sheriff’s office, the process began with a self-assessment by sheriff’s command officers to determine the agency’s compliance with the standards.  The agency manual was extensively revised, written directives were added or revised, and practices were examined.  Finally, two independent assessors from the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office conducted on-site interviews and observations culminating in awarding the distinction to the sheriff’s office.

The benefits of accreditation include the ability to conduct an assessment of an agency’s strengths and weaknesses; the identification of obtainable goals; the implementation of state-of-the-art policies and procedures; the establishment of specific guidelines for daily operations; aid in the defense of frivolous lawsuits; an increase of community support; and a higher level of staff professionalism and morale.

According to Sheriff Palmer, this is just the first step in a three-step process.  In the coming years the sheriff’s office will pursue national accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies and, for the detention facility, the same distinction through the American Correctional Association.