By NATHAN GREGORY
Oktibbeha County Sheriffâ€™s Department recently completed a three-day mock accreditation with state assessors in preparation for a November assessment in which the unit can receive state accreditation and Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies recognition.
The assessment is scheduled for Nov. 5-7. During that time, assessors will inspect the OCSD facility and review the departmentâ€™s policies.
They will also participate in a public forum in which citizens will have the opportunity to ask questions to OCSD officials as well as assessors and provide input on the departmentâ€™s overall performance. Assessors will also ride with deputies while they are on duty to survey their performance and check for correct storage procedures of crime evidence. Training will also be a part of their evaluations. The mock accreditation was held Aug. 6-8.
OCSD Chief Deputy Chadd Garnett said the first step in preparing for the assessment was the revising of the departmentâ€™s general orders manual.
â€śThat is your policies and procedures the department will follow,â€ť Garnett said. â€śOn the accreditation the major part of accreditation is when you have a policy you have to show proofs that you are doing what the policy says to do.â€ť
This is the first time OCSD is being evaluated for state accreditation and CALEA recognition. In order to achieve the designations, the department has to meet more than 120 specifications set forth by assessors. Their ability to meet those standards, Garnett said, will benefit the citizens they serve.
â€śThe benefit for the citizens of Oktibbeha County is after you get accredited your liability insurance that the county has to pay for a law enforcement agency should drop,â€ť Garnett said.
The benefit for the department itself is that it shows citizens that deputies are continuing to work to improve the service it provides to county citizens, Garnett said.
â€śIt has been a lot of work for everybody. The deputies have bought into it and weâ€™ve asked them to do a lot. One person canâ€™t do it. It takes the whole department and they really bought into it and helped us get close on this mock accreditation,â€ť he said.
Starkville Police Department is currently state accredited with CALEA recognition. Department officials went through the procedure of renewing that accreditation earlier this year and are scheduled to hear back from CALEA assessors in November to get word on whether with will obtain state and CALEA accreditation, which is a step up.