Accreditation assessment team invites public comment

A team of assessors from the Commission on the Accreditation for Law Enforcement, Inc. arrive Saturday, Dec.13, to examine all aspects of the Blount County Sheriff’s policies and procedures, management, operation, and support services.

Verification by the team that the Sheriff’s Office meets the Commission’s state-of-the-art standards is part of a voluntary process to gain re-accreditation, a highly prized recognition of law enforcement professional excellence, Sheriff James Berrong said.

As part of the on-site assessment, Sheriff’s Office employees and members of the community are invited to attend and offer comments at a public information session at 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 15. The session will be conducted in the Blount County Circuit Court, Division I courtroom, located on the third floor of the Blount County Justice Center.

If for some reason an individual cannot attend the public information session, but would like to provide comments to the assessment team, he or she may do so by telephone or e-mail. The public may call 273-5140 or send an e-mail at bcso@bcso.com on Monday, Dec. 15, between the hours of 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Comments will be taken by the Assessment Team.

Telephone comments, as well as appearances at the public session, are limited to 10 minutes, and must address the Sheriff’s Offices’ ability to comply with CALEA standards. A copy of the standards is available at the Sheriff’s Office in the Justice Center. Local contact is Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Chris Cantrell at 273-5129.

Persons wishing to offer written comments about the Sheriff’s Office’s ability to meet the standards for re-accreditation are requested to write to: Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA), 10302 Eaton Place, Suite 100, Fairfax, VA 22030-2201, or e-mail at calea@calea.org.

Once the Commission’s assessors complete their review of the agency, they report back to the full Commission, which will decide if the Sheriff’s Office is to be granted re-accreditation status.

Accreditation is for three years, during which time the Sheriff’s Office must submit annual reports attesting continued compliance with those standards under which it was initially accredited. The Blount County Sheriff’s Office was awarded initial accreditation in March of 2003, and re-accreditation in March 2006.

For more information regarding CALEA, write the Commission at 10302 Eaton Place, Suite 100, Fairfax, VA 22030-2201, or call 800.368.3757. Information is also available on their web site at www.calea.org.

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