Public feedback of the Columbia County Sheriff's Office is being sought from the community as part of the agency's assessment process starting today.
Assessors from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies will remain in town until Wednesday evaluating the Columbia County Sheriff's Office, including the Patrol Division, Criminal Investigations Division, Special Operations Division, Transportation Division and Columbia County Justice Center. This type of assessment is done once every three years.
The commission's accreditation programs are designed to improve public safety services, according to its Web site.
"What we do as accreditation managers is make sure that everybody does their job the way they're supposed to," said Tonya Gordy, an assistant accreditation manager for the sheriff's office. "We collect documentation for three years to make sure that we can prove that our policies fit the CALEA standards and that we are abiding by those standards."
The public is invited to share comments about the sheriff's office with a team of assessors at 7 p.m. Monday in Judges Conference Room 1090 at the Justice Center in Evans.
Residents also can make comments by phone from 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesday by calling (706) 541-4060.
"The public notice (and) the telephone call-ins that we do are all mandated by CALEA so that they're not taking our word for it, and they can find out from the public how we're doing," Gordy said. "They'll go through our documentation. They will walk around our facilities, talk to our deputies, but they also want to talk to the public to make sure that we're following our policy ... and that there aren't any major complaints or concerns."
The Columbia County agency became accredited in 1996 and is now a size D organization, the largest type, with 300 or more employees, Gordy said. The sheriff's office is required to comply with 425 standards to gain its status.
The Columbia County Detention Center and the sheriff's office Communications Center are accredited separately from the sheriff's office, she said.
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