In December, 2007, a team of assessors from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA) thoroughly examined all aspects of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office’s (HCSO) policies and procedures, management, operations and support services as the Sheriff’s Office sought to renew its CALEA accreditation. After assessors verified that HCSO continues to voluntarily meet or exceed the Commission’s nationally recognized standards, the assessment team recommended that CALEA grant the Sheriff’s Office its third consecutive accreditation – a highly prized recognition of excellence in the provision of law enforcement services. In their report recommending reaccreditation, the assessors maintained that the Harris County Sheriff’s Office is “staffed with totally professional individuals that are 100% committed to the mission of the agency and to doing their best to improve the quality of life for all residents and visitors of Harris County.”
After reviewing the assessors’ report on the Sheriff’s Office, Steve Mitchell, CALEA Program Manager for Harris County, was so impressed that he recommended that HCSO be awarded CALEA Flagship status. According to the CALEA website, “The Flagship Agency Program was introduced at the 2004 Fall Conference to acknowledge the achievement and expertise of some of the most successful CALEA Accredited public safety agencies, and also to provide “flagship examples” to assist other agencies. CALEA staff selects Flagship Agencies, by agency type and program, based primarily on their past performance. Selected agencies are invited to exhibit at a CALEA Conference to showcase their agency materials, offer networking opportunities, discuss issues, and offer suggestions based on their experiences with CALEA Accreditation.” The Harris County Sheriff’s Office will officially be awarded its Flagship status on Saturday, March 15, 2008, at an awards ceremony in Atlanta, GA.
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office attained its first accreditation through CALEA on March 23, 2002, after a thorough review of departmental policies and practices by CALEA assessors. HCSO was awarded its first reaccreditation on March 23, 2005. Following their most recent visit in December, 2007, CALEA assessors determined that HCSO continues to meet or exceed the Commission’s standards, and they recommended that HCSO be reaccredited. The Harris County Sheriff’s Office remains the largest Sheriff’s Office in the nation to be accredited through CALEA.
In addition to the CALEA accreditation, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office has achieved several other national and international accreditations, to include:
- In February, 2004, HCSO became the 1st County Jail in the nation to be nationally accredited in inmate education; accredited through Correctional Education Association (CEA).
- HCSO’s Communications Division achieved international accreditation in 2006 through the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International, Inc. (APCO) in conjunction with (CALEA).
- HCSO’s Regional Firearms lab has been accredited through the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors since January 2006.
- HCSO’s Health Services has been continuously accredited through the National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC) since 1991.