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Washington County Sheriff's Office is among top in nation

Office is only one in Oregon to earn CALEA national accreditation


On Feb. 4, the Washington County Board of Commissioners presented an award to Sheriff Pat Garrett that marks the agency's fourth consecutive national law enforcement accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.

CALEA is a national credentialing program established to enhance law enforcement as a profession and to improve law enforcement service delivery.

Since its initial accreditation in 2004, the Washington County Sheriff's Office has voluntarily demonstrated continued standards compliance for an external inspection team every three years.

The most recent assessment took place May 6-9, 2013, and reaccreditation was awarded following a hearing Nov. 16, 2013. This award is especially significant because the sheriff's office completed a Gold Standard Assessment and the Accreditation with Excellence Award.

The sheriff's office met stringent criteria for the new Gold Standard Assessment, a more intensive onsite inspection. Qualification required two prior successful Advanced Accreditation awards with no compliance or process-management issues during the last inspection.

This form of assessment is heavily reliant on physical inspection, direct staff questioning, ride-alongs and service observations, and community feedback. Inspectors must verify compliance at all levels of the organization.

Furthemore, the sheriff's office was selected to receive the Accreditation with Excellence Award, which is bestowed on agencies that set the benchmark for public safety professionalism by demonstrating:

Excellence in developing and implementing contemporary policies and procedure; excellence in the ability to use accreditation as a tool for continuous improvement; excellence in the collection, review, and analysis process for service improvement; and excellence in addressing CALEA standards, beyond compliance.

The WCSO remains the largest law enforcement agency and the only sheriff's office in Oregon to attain national accreditation by CALEA. Only 52 large law enforcement agencies in the United States have achieved Advanced Accreditation, and of those, only 15 have received the Accreditation with Excellence Award. Even fewer of those have also passed a Gold Standard Assessment.