News Release from: Clackamas Co. Sheriff's Office
Posted: Thursday, May 29, 2014, 11:54 a.m.

Clackamas County Sheriff's Office

Media and Interested Parties

Sheriff's Office gains OAA state accreditation

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The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office recently completed an accreditation process through the Oregon Accreditation Alliance.

Accreditation is a process that involves voluntary, independent verification of established standards by an outside organization of professionals and peers. It's a process that confirms a high standard of professionalism in an agency. It's also relatively new to law enforcement. In 1983, the New York State Sheriffs' Association became the first law-enforcement organization in the country to develop an accreditation program for its members. It was a success -- and inspired the creation of the Oregon Accreditation Alliance (OAA) in 2000. OAA is now one of 26 state law-enforcement accrediting bodies evaluating agencies across the United States.

There are 102 OAA accreditation standards, covering the full spectrum of law-enforcement ethics and procedures. The Sheriff's Office cross-referenced its policy manual with OAA standards and establishing working groups at various rank levels to speed the process along. This led to a rewrite of CCSO's policy manual -- which was uploaded to a policy-software platform that allows employees to access and search CCSO policy from anywhere.

"The advantages of accreditation are enormous," said Sheriff Craig Roberts. "When I first took office, I made a commitment to do this. The process inspired us to take a careful look at our existing policies and procedures. This process alone was incredible for our long-term health as an agency. Beyond that, it builds public trust. It also provides other long-term advantages: Just for example, some grants require you to be accredited. We've really raised our standard with this process."

"Accreditation doesn't just prove compliance," explains CCSO Policy Analyst Andrew Gale, who helped spearhead the accreditation process. "It establishes a dynamic process of internal communication and improvement. The very process of seeking accreditation enhances the agency by prompting an internal review of its basic operations."

On Thursday, May 22, the Clackamas County Commissioners recognized the Sheriff's Office's achievement during its weekly meeting. Ed Boyd, Executive Director of OAA and a former chief of police, presented Sheriff Craig Roberts with an Official Certificate of State Accreditation and spoke about the many advantages of accreditation. You can watch video of the presentation here.

Ed Boyd's remarks during the meeting before presenting the Sheriff with OAA's Certificate of State Accreditation:

"Accreditation means that an agency, their operations, their management, their policies and procedures meet the best practices the industry has to offer. The accreditation process in general is a progressive and contemporary way of helping law-enforcement agencies evaluate and improve their overall performance -- and provides formal and professional recognition that an organization meets or exceeds best-practice expectations of service and quality in the profession.

"In Oregon right now, 32% of all law-enforcement agencies are currently involved in the accreditation program, and just a little over 20% of those agencies are accredited -- so you're still talking about a very select group of agencies in the state.

"It also, in my opinion, takes courage for an organization to take on the rigorous accreditation process. Any time the chief executive officer of an organization invites an outside third party into their department to review and inspect everything associated with their operations and render an opinion as to whether they meet a set of best-practice standards for that profession, that by itself shows commitment, transparency and dedication to excellence.

"The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office joined the Oregon Accreditation Alliance in 2005, and has been steadily and diligently working towards state accreditation. This is the agency's first award of accreditation. An on-site assessment for accreditation was conducted, and an original award of accreditation was conferred by the Oregon Accreditation Alliance Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the Oregon State Sheriff's Association.

"Although accreditation, as the Sheriff mentioned, is an agency-wide process with involvement by many, many people, special recognition needs to go to Policy Analyst Andy Gale for his outstanding effort and performance as Accreditation Manager for his agency and preparing the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office for its on-site review process."



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Contact Info:
Sergeant Nathan Thompson
Office of Public Information
Clackamas County Sheriff's Office

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