Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Last week, Berkeley County Sheriff Wayne DeWitt announced that the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office had earned the honor of becoming a nationally accredited law enforcement agency. During Berkeley County Council’s Feb. 10 meeting, members of the BCSO were honored before council as they received their accreditation certificate.
“I asked the command staff back in 2000 if this was something we wanted to strive for and to a man they said, ‘Yes,’” DeWitt said before council. “This national accreditation is the result of that hard work the department has invested.”
The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc. (CALEA) recognizes agencies like the BCSO that demonstrate a commitment to excellence in law enforcement.
This award is considered a benchmark for professional law enforcement agencies.
South Carolina Supreme Court Justice John Kittredge and State Representative Edward Tallon made the presentation before county council.
“It is with great pleasure that I present this accreditation to this outstanding law enforcement agency,” said Justice Kittredge. “The certificate represents a great deal. It represents a commitment to doing the right thing the right way. It represents adherence to a professional code.
“There are approximately 18,000 law enforcement agencies in America. Less than five percent are accredited. Many agencies want to be accredited and while they may espouse professionalism only a select few accomplish that goal.”
CALEA was created in 1979 when a need was recognized within the law enforcement community to develop professional standards to enhance the deliverance of law enforcement services within the community in which they serve.
“You truly have professional law enforcement in this part of the country,” Tallon said. “I know you are proud of it and I am very proud of it as well.”
“I want one thing to be certain when you leave here tonight,” DeWitt said. “This is nothing that Wayne Dewitt did. This is a total team effort from line officer up to command staff.
“It was a team effort and took time but we achieved our goal.”
DeWitt said the award gives the leadership and staff of his office the confidence that they are attentive to the issues that promote professional service and provides assurance that they are focused on the proper activities that strengthen the BCSO’s overall performance.
There are only 32 other law enforcement agencies in South Carolina, 626 nationally, and 16 internationally that have earned this prestigious award.
“Now that we have reached this high standard, we must continue to strive for even higher goals of professionalism to serve the citizens of Berkeley County,” DeWitt said. “We consider this an honor and we appreciate the support the Sheriff’s Office has had from County Council over the years.”