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El Paso Police
Texas Crime Prevention Summer Conference
- The El Paso County Sheriff's Office in March of 2001 was the first Sheriff's Office in the State of Texas to be awarded accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA). Since then, the El Paso County Sheriff's Office has become the fourth recipient of the CALEA TRI-ARC Excellence AWARD (1st in Texas). The CALEA TRI-ARC Excellence Award consists of three Accreditations: Law Enforcement, Public Safety Communications, and Public Safety Training Academy.
- Over the past several years, the El Paso County Sheriff's Office has worked diligently to maintain accreditation. One question often asked is, ...what will it mean to us, the agency and employees?" While achieving or maintaining accreditation is not an easy process, the Office stands to gain many benefits from being a nationally accredited law enforcement agency.
- On Saturday, March 27, 2010 Sheriff Richard D. Wiles and the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office CALEA team were in Dallas, Texas to receive the Sheriff’s Office 4th re-accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA).
- (Pictured left to right: Executive Director Sylvester Daughtry Jr. , Deputy Ricardo Perales , Deputy Delma Veliz , EPCSO Research, Planning & Development Coordinator Cristina Bendsten, Support Services Commander Jesus Campa , Sheriff of El Paso County Richard Wiles , Chair Louis M. Dekmar)
- The first "accreditation" agency was established in the State of New York for education systems in 1787. Many more professions and disciplines joined the ranks of establishing accreditation standards such as universities and hospitals. Law enforcement - in particular, corrections- joined the movement in 1974. The first law enforcement agency to receive accreditation for police work was in 1985. Since then, with over 33,000 law enforcement agencies in the country, 508 departments have achieved the distinction of being an accredited agency. Of those 508 accredited agencies, 20 are from the State of Texas.
- There are only 55 sheriff's agencies nationwide. The El Paso County Sheriff's Department now ranks among these few specially credited departments as having undergone the strict compliance mandates issued by the Commission on Accreditation.
- The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA) is an independent non-profit organization, which was established in 1979 through the combined efforts of law enforcement's largest membership organizations - the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the National Sheriff's Association (NSA), the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), and the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF).
- Its purpose is to improve the delivery of law enforcement services through voluntary compliance with nationally recognized and accepted practices. This organization works directly with law enforcement agencies from application to accreditation and now currently serves foreign countries as well.
- El Paso County Sheriff's Office CALEA Section is assigned to the Support Services Bureau. The section consists of 3 members assigned to continuously maintain the status and needs required to successfully accomplish the re-accreditation process and its continuous professional excellence.
- Our goal is to continue improving the delivery of Law Enforcement services through voluntary compliance with our Office Policies and Procedures and the standards specified by CALEA.
- Why seek accreditation?
- There are many benefits to being accredited. As with any profession - be it medical, educational, transportation, technological, manufacturing, etc. - organizations strive to reach a certain level of efficiency and want to inform the public they serve that they have been recognized by their peers, and others, as being reliable and qualified to perform those duties.
- Law enforcement is no different. In fact, because we are public servants, that level of public trust and accountability is much more critical in our profession than in any other. That is why it only made sense to work through the accreditation process and receive its distinction.
- Other benefits have included open communication which will enhance agency performance, clarified issues and brought others to the forefront, developed new ideas and solutions, even potentially reduce law suits and claims made against the agency for improperly following procedures or lack thereof.
- The Commission reports that agencies who have been accredited and whose officers act in accordance with CALEA standards and department policy have experienced an overall reduction in lawsuits by almost 20%, with the amount of punitive damages reduced by as much as 67%. Financial loss in any organization affects everyone. From personnel wages to purchase power for capital improvements and equipment, every organization strives to limit its loss to provide for a better working environment.
- Still other benefits include making our community more attractive to economic and community development. It will also assure our governmental leaders of the quality of law enforcement and the taxpayers' return on their investment. Furthermore, it will provide international recognition and provide a venue for employee morale and pride by ensuring that our agency follows sound, established policies, which are solidly documented and recognized by our industry.
- Achieving Accreditation
- Law enforcement is a very dynamic profession; the policies and procedures of this department will change, just as the standards that we follow will change to meet the needs of the public, the law, and social atmosphere. It will encourage cooperation between many sections within our own department, and the Office with its neighboring agencies. The Office will encounter future problems, but at least the mechanism is in place to face those challenges, encourage cooperation and problem solving, and strengthen the foundation on which we operate.
- Every member of this Office will begin to see change if it hasn't already been apparent. Furthermore, many will continue to be asked to contribute or give input into this ongoing process. There are approximately 440 standards, which have to be maintained and constantly evaluated. It will take more than one or two people to make this work - it will take the entire Sheriff's Office.
- The Sheriff and Chief Deputy have given a close schedule to follow. This was done because of the confidence they have in each and every member of the Office. Without a doubt, if this organization were without sound policies and principals already in place, as well as professional and dedicated members and employees, the schedule would have been the usual "three to four years." Even then, many agencies have struggled to obtain their credentials and meet compliance in that amount of time. We succeeded in just a little over two years.
- Now that we're accredited, the process does not end here. We must meet "re-accreditation" every three years by providing information and data verifying that we are, in fact, in compliance with our policies and procedures. Evaluations, surveys, analyses, and assessments have to be completed monthly, quarterly, annually or when required by standards and policy. This is an ongoing process. It will make us reevaluate and reconsider everything we do. From written policies to common practices, from the uniformed patrol officer to the civilian evidence technician, this process will make us carefully look at what we do, how we do it, and the best way to achieve it.