Accreditation & Certification

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In November 2022, Sheriff John Q. Williams and members of the Clarke County Sheriff's Office attended the national Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), Inc. Conference in St. Louis, Missouri and were awarded agency accreditation for the next four years. This is the fourth time CCSO has been awarded accreditation. 
Accreditation is voluntary but means an agency meets or exceeds 180 rigorous standards set by CALEA regarding policies and use of best practices.

Clarke County Sheriff’s Office Receives Full Law Enforcement Accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA).


Clarke County Sheriff’s Office Achieves C.A.L.E.A National Law Enforcement Re-Accreditation November 2015:

We are pleased to announce the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office has met the requirements of the highly regarded broadly recognized body of Law Enforcement Accreditation standards and has been awarded twice by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. in November of 2015 at the C.A.L.E.A. Fall national conference in Miami Florida.

The Sheriff’s Office Law Enforcement Accreditation represents the satisfactory completion of a continuous process of thorough agency wide self-evaluation, concluded by an exacting outside review by a team of independent assessors conducted in March of this year.

In August of 2015, two professional assessors visited the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office and reviewed the agency’s applicable files, activities, functional impacts, and management strategies. These assessors determined the agency’s compliance with all applicable standards. They also noted that the agency’s commitment to the accreditation process is clearly evident, and the agency members were very professional and dedicated to the accreditation process. The assessors spoke with, members of the Athens-Clarke County Unified Government, as well as members of allied public service agencies. They all praised the work of the Sheriff's Office in striving for this achievement, as well as the dedication to community service shown.

The assessors found that the agency’s personnel were proud to be members of the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office, and were reflective of a professional attitude with a high sense of service to the community. At the Commission meeting held in Miami, Florida in November 2015, CALEA Commissioners reviewed the assessors’ report, concurred with their findings, and unanimously voted to re-accredit the Sheriff's Office.

This accreditation award represents the commitment of the Clarke County Sheriff's Office to all the citizens we serve to provide superior, professional service and to work in partnership with our diverse communities to promote and enhance the safety and quality of life in Athens-Clarke County.

What is Law Enforcement Accreditation? 

Accreditation is a process in which a law enforcement agency voluntarily complies with 189 professional standards for Full Law Enforcement Accreditation, and 464 professional standards for Advanced Law Enforcement Accreditation defined by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). The standards focus on department policies, and operational procedures such as police training, use of force, emergency preparedness, and accountability. Compliance with these standards means a law enforcement agency both follows a code of conduct recognized by its law enforcement peers, the legal system and the public and also meets the best professional requirements and practices for agencies nationwide.

What is CALEA?

The Law Enforcement Accreditation Program was the first credentialing program established by CALEA after its founding. It was originally developed to address what was seen as a need to enhance law enforcement as a profession and to improve law enforcement. That mission continues today. The program is open to all types of law enforcement agencies, on an international basis. It provides a process to systematically conduct an internal review and assessment of the agencies’ policies and procedures, and make adjustments wherever necessary to meet a body of internationally accepted standards.

Since the first CALEA Accreditation Award was granted in 1984, the program has become the primary method for an agency to voluntarily demonstrate their commitment to excellence in law enforcement. The standards upon which the Law Enforcement Accreditation Program is based reflect the current thinking and experience of law enforcement practitioners and researchers. Major law enforcement associations, leading educational and training institutions, governmental agencies, as well as law enforcement executives internationally, acknowledge CALEA’s Standards for Law Enforcement Agencies© and its Accreditation Program as benchmarks for today’s law enforcement agency.

  • CALEA Accreditation requires an agency to develop a comprehensive, well thought out, uniform set of written directives. This is one of the most successful methods for reaching administrative and operational goals, while also providing direction to personnel.
  • CALEA Accreditation standards provide the necessary reports and analyses a CEO needs to make fact-based, informed management decisions.
  • CALEA Accreditation requires a preparedness program be put in place—so an agency is ready to address natural or man-made unusual occurrences.
  • CALEA Accreditation is a means for developing or improving upon an agency’s relationship with the community.
  • CALEA Accreditation strengthens an agency’s accountability, both within the agency and the community, through a continuum of standards that clearly define authority, performance, and responsibilities.
  • Being CALEA Accredited can limit an agency’s liability and risk exposure because it demonstrates that internationally recognized standards for law enforcement have been met, as verified by a team of independent outside CALEA-trained assessors.
  • CALEA Accreditation facilitates an agency’s pursuit of professional excellence

What is State Certification?

State Certification is a progressive and time-proven way of helping law enforcement agencies calculate and improve their overall performance. The foundation of certification lies in the promulgation of standards containing a clear statement of professional objectives. Participating agencies conduct a thorough self-analysis to determine how existing operations can be adapted to meet these objectives. When the procedures are in place, a team of trained assessors verifies that applicable standards have been successfully implemented. The process culminates with a decision by a joint executive committee that the agency has met the requirements for certification.

On July 26, 2007 the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office received special recognition at the Georgia Sheriff’s Association 2007 Summer Conference at Lake Lanier for achieving Agency State Certification presented by the president of the Georgia Sheriff’s Association. The Sheriff’s Office passed its assessment of June 15, 2007 making it one of only ten current Sheriff’s Offices in the State of Georgia to achieve and maintain State Certification. This assessment insures that the Standard Operating Policies and Procedures for the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office are in compliance with the Standards set forth by the Georgia Association of Police Chiefs Agency Certification Program.

The Clarke County Sheriff's Office has chosen to withdraw from the State Certification Program effective January 23, 2013 and intend to reapply in November of 2013.

Accreditation Timeline:

  • March 2016 Awarded Certification of Accreditation
  • November 2015 Appeared before CALEA Board Members for review, awarded CALEA Re-Accreditation
  • August 2015 Law Enforcement Accreditation Assessment
  • August 10, 2012: CCSO Honored at Commission meeting for Award of CALEA Certificate.
  • July 23, 2012: CCSO Achieves Law Enforcement Accreditation July 21, 2012.
  • March 8, 2012: CALEA Law Enforcement Accreditation Assessment March 28-29, 2012