Harnett County Sheriff’s Office Awarded National Law Enforcement Accreditation

The Harnett County Sheriff’s Office has been awarded national accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA® ) in the Law Enforcement Accreditation program.

Following a self-assessment phase and a meticulous site-based assessment of community engagement, policy, procedures, equipment and facilities by CALEA assessors, Sheriff Wayne Coats and Captain Jeffrey Armstrong attended the CALEA virtual conference. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the usual CALEA Conference, where agencies are formally reviewed and awarded in person, was taken online to a virtual format. On November 13, 2020, the CALEA Commission voted to approve the accreditation of the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office. Each agency being reviewed, goes before CALEA’s 21-member Board of Commissioners where the commission reviews all findings and determines the agencies’ accreditation status.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the usual CALEA Conference hearings and banquet, where agencies are formally awarded, had to be cancelled. Agencies did, however, go before the commission in an online webinar format. On Friday, November 13, 2020, the CALEA Commission voted to approve the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office for CALEA Accredited Status. CALEA President Anthony Purcell and Executive Director W. Craig Hartley, Jr. have formally awarded the Sheriff’s Office with accreditation, signifying excellence in public safety and commitment to community. This is the Sheriffs Office’s first award of national accreditation.

Harnett County Sheriff Wayne Coats expressed his appreciation to staff who worked on this accreditation. “We achieved our accreditation through the dedication and hard work of all the men and women of the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office. I am so proud of each and every one of them,” stated Sheriff Coats.

“The process brings accountability to the forefront and will give the public a better perception of their Sheriff’s Office. CALEA Accreditation holds us to accountability and to the training required to maintain the professional standards we have chosen to uphold. Accreditation also increases the pride and, in tum, the morale of the Office employees.”

“High morale and professional pride improves our relationship with the public and instills confidence in our ability to treat everyone fairly while doing our jobs. Accreditation is a major step forward, but it is only the first step in the continuing process of self-improvement and the maintenance of the ongoing CALEA process,” said Sheriff Coats. “I would like to thank all the citizens of Harnett County, the Board of Commissioners, and the County Manager for their overwhelming support throughout this successful effort.”

In 1979, the Commission was created through the combined efforts of four major law enforcement organizations; the International Association of Chiefs of Police, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, National Sheriffs’ Association and the Police Executive Research Forum. The purpose of the Commission is to develop standards based on international best practices in public safety, and to establish and administer the accreditation process. The accreditation process is how a public safety agency voluntarily demonstrates how it meets professionally recognized criteria for excellence in management and service delivery.

“This award of accreditation does not come easy,” said CALEA President Anthony Purcell, Chief of Police, University of Alabama at Birmingham Police Department. “Agencies must go through a rigorous review and evaluation of their organization and then implement the necessary policy and procedure changes. The process does not stop at that point. By voluntarily choosing to seek CALEA accreditation, the agency commits to an ongoing review of adherence to CALEA’s standards. Each community with CALEA accredited agencies should be confident that their public safety organization is going above and beyond and operating under the highest standards in public safety.”