Accreditation and Policy

'The Gold Standard'

Accreditation, both nationally and at the state level, is considered the “gold standard” in public safety service. The processes to become and maintain accreditation are rigorous and multi-faceted. It requires an ongoing, day-to-day focus on long-term planning, organization, and practice of the highest quality of service to the community.

How we did it ...

December 2008
The Beaufort County Sheriff’s began the process of obtaining accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). Sheriff P.J. Tanner recognized accreditation as a way for the Sheriff’s Office to demonstrate its adherence to rigid policies and procedures, and to better evaluate and improve its overall services, performance and professionalism.
July 31, 2010
The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office was awarded international accreditation as a law enforcement agency through CALEA and achieved its fourth award of accreditation in 2020. The pursuit for accreditation did not stop there. After being awarded CALEA accreditation as a law enforcement agency, Sheriff Tanner resolved to obtain accreditation awards the Forensic Services Laboratory and the Communications Center.
June 17, 2011
The Sheriff’s Office Forensic Services Laboratory was accredited in Forensic Chemistry — controlled substances — and Forensic Biology – DNA — by Forensic Quality Services (FQS) under the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025, Accrediting Body Supplemental Requirements, and the FBI Quality Assurance Standards for Forensic DNA Testing Laboratories. The Forensic Services Laboratory recently received its third accreditation reward.
Nov. 5, 2016
The Sheriff’s Office’s Communications Center (Emergency Dispatch 9-1-1) was awarded its accreditation through CALEA and recently received its second award of accreditation in 2020.

In meeting and maintaining the high standards through CALEA and Forensic Quality Services, the Sheriff’s Office continues to demonstrate that it values and consistently employs recognized smart and best practices in law enforcement and forensic sciences.

Currently there are only 37 municipal, county and state law enforcement agencies — and only eight Communications Centers  in South Carolina that have achieved and maintained accreditation.

Only nine of the 46 Sheriff's Offices in South Carolina have received CALEA accreditation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Accreditation requires a significant dedication of time and agency-wide commitment to achieving the ultimate goal.

CALEA Accreditation is a four-year process with annual assessments for each discipline within law enforcement and communications.

Per the requirements of ANAB and the FBI, the Forensic Services Laboratory is subjected to a Surveillance Assessment annually, with a full “Reassessment” every fourth year under the aforementioned requirements.

HOW THE PROCESS BEGINS

Upon completion and acceptance of an agency’s enrollment package, self-assessment begins. This involves an internal, systemic analysis of all operations, management and practices to determine compliance with applicable standards. A careful review of program-specific CALEA standards guides an agency in determining if current practices are in line with requirements.

Once the self-assessment is concluded, a comprehensive assessment by CALEA personnel is conducted. This consists of file reviews and site-based assessments.

THE ASSESSMENT

Assessors are looking for well documented proof that not only have standards meeting CALEA guidelines been adopted, but that they have also been successfully implemented throughout the agency.

A formal report prepared by a CALEA Assessment Team is compiled for presentation to the Board of CALEA Commissioners. This board is comprised of a diverse cross section of professionals with vested interests in public safety; senators, business owners, attorneys, and former and current law enforcement leaders to name a few.

CONTINUAL MAINTENANCE

The process does not end, however, with an award of accreditation. An agency must then continually maintain compliance. With reviews annually, an accredited agency is tasked with creating and managing documenting all changes in procedures and policies, and any activities that accomplish CALEA standards.

  • PROVIDES FRAMEWORK: Accreditation provides a framework of national standards that law enforcement can draw from in constructing, evaluating and revamping agency practices as the public safety needs of individual communities evolve.

  • ROBUST POLICIES ON USE-OF-FORCE: Rather than making reactive decisions based high-profile incidents that have highlighted deficiencies in law enforcement management and operational response, accredited agencies have implemented training and robust policies on use of force, racial profiling, body-worn cameras, and mental health years before recent national conversations called for it.

  • SMART ALLOCATION OF RESOURCES: Accredited agencies have the opportunity to make the most efficient usage of resources without diminishing service quality. Of the many evaluations performed as a function of the CALEA Accreditation Team, efficacy of current resource usage is one of the most important. Intelligent allocation of an agencies resources, such as manpower and equipment, is accomplished through the comparison of agency activities against CALEA performance standards.

  • PUBLIC TRUST IN SPENDING: CALEA standards addressing agency budgeting can help ensure public confidence that the taxpayer money funding public safety is being used to provide the highest quality of service. Meticulous documentation and transparent presentation in compliance with CALEA standards helps secure grant monies as well as referendums aimed at the continuous improvement of law enforcement services available.

  • PREPAREDNESS: Operational readiness to critical incidents is ensured via the CALEA standards addressing the procedure for and frequency of equipment inspection. This allows for identification and documentation of any system requiring repair or remediation for CALEA compliance.

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office and is proud to maintain accreditation, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. We are committed to fostering trust, encouraging open lines of communication and providing transparency in all areas of service to our community

Beaufort County Sheriff P.J. Tanner