Residents and merchants are invited to assess the Bergen County Sheriff's Office as part of a prestigious process known as accreditation.
A team of assessors from the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police (NJSACOP) will arrive on Feb. 24 to examine "all aspects of the office's policies and procedures, management, operations, and support services," Bergen County Sheriff Anthony Cureton said Friday.
Members of the department and borough employees also are encouraged to call during a scheduled phone-in period from 1 to 2 p.m. that same day.
THE NUMBER: (201) 336-3505
Telephone comments, which will be fielded by an NJSACOP assessment team, are limited to 5 minutes and “must address the agency’s ability to comply with the accreditation standards,” Cureton said.
You could also email email@example.com at the sheriff's office or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or write to the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police, Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission at 11,000 Lincoln Drive West, Suite 12, Marlton, NJ 08053.
Verification by the team that the department meets the Commission’s "best practice" standards is "part of a voluntary process to achieve accreditation, a highly prized recognition of law enforcement professional excellence,” Cureton said.
Accreditation results in greater accountability within the agency, reduced risk and liability exposure, stronger defense against civil lawsuits, increased community advocacy, and more confidence in the agency’s ability to operate efficiently and respond to community needs, the sheriff added.
Although it hasn’t been proven to directly improve police response time, reduce crime, or cut costs to taxpayers, accreditation does send a message that a department is committed to professionalism — the same as colleges and other institutions do.
For instance, the department must meet 105 standards -- for prisoner transfers, how petty cash is handled, and the process for evidence chain-of-custody, among other functions.
The review team, made up of law enforcement officers, will “review written materials, interview agency members, and visit offices and other places where compliance with the standards can be observed,” said Harry J. Delgado, the program manager.
They will then report to the commission, which determines whether to grant accreditation.
Accreditation is valid for a three-year period during which the agency must submit annual reports attesting to its continued compliance with the standards.
A copy of the standards is available for inspection at the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office at Two Bergen County Plaza, Hackensack, NJ 07601.
CONTACT: Sgt. Lauren Barbosa at (201) 336-3553.
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