published Sunday, November 24th, 2013

Hamilton County Sheriff's Office and 9-1-1 call center receive accreditation

Local public safety agencies that have CALEA accreditation:

Catoosa County Sheriff's Office

Chattanooga Police Department

Cleveland Police Department

Dalton Police Department

Hamilton County 911 Emergency Communications District

Hamilton County Sheriff's Office

For the first time in each agency's history, the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office and Hamilton County 911 Emergency Communications District received accreditation by a national public safety organization that examines guidelines throughout departments and strives to reduce liability.

The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc. is a Gainesville, Va.-based organization that accredits mostly law enforcement agencies and other types of public safety departments across the world.

This month the sheriff's office and 911 communication center joined 36 other public safety agencies in Tennessee in earning the accreditation, including the Chattanooga Police Department.

In 2008, Sheriff Jim Hammond campaigned on getting the sheriff's office accredited. The process, which CALEA says typically takes about 24 months, began in September 2010.

"Our proactive participation in CALEA accreditation reflects the willingness of the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office to review and adopt improvements in management and operational procedures without the mandates of the Department of Justice," Hammond said in a statement. The sheriff plans to seek re-election next year.

The sheriff's office is one of five sheriff's offices across the state to meet the standard. The emergency call center is one of five communication centers, according to CALEA's website.

"This is an extraordinary achievement on their part, in that Hamilton County unified emergency communications, has been in existence for less than five years," said John Stuermer, executive director of the 911 call center.

The center answers about 1,700 calls daily.

Organizations have to pay CALEA thousands of dollars to apply for accreditation and continue to pay annual fees each year.

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