The Newton County Sheriff's Office was awarded state certification Friday, joining the ranks of the top 100 law enforcement agencies in the state.
J. Terry Norris, executive director of the Georgia Sheriff's Association and Youth Homes, and Clerk of Superior Court Linda Hays welcomed local law enforcement officers, federal, state and local public officials, a National Sheriff's Association representative and citizens from the community to witness the official presentation of state certification to the Newton County Sheriff's Office (NCSO).
Norris praised Newton County Sheriff Ezell Brown for undertaking the voluntary effort to ensure that the quality of services provided to citizens of Newton County meet the high standards set by the accrediting agency.
DeKalb County Sheriff Thomas Brown presented Brown with a commemorative plaque and spoke of when the Covington Police Department made history as the first agency to achieve certification under the leadership of former Chief Bobby Moody.
"It gives me great pleasure to stand today to acknowledge the accomplishments of your sheriff's department as they join an esteemed group of agencies," Norris said.
On July 17, the Newton County Sheriff's Office received official notification that it was awarded state certification by the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police. This notification confirmed successful completion of all aspects of the accreditation process. The award places Newton County in the company of 17 sheriff's offices, 76 police departments, and five other state departments, including, the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, colleges and the Marshals Office.
Throughout the ceremony, program participants praised the efforts of the sheriff for moving forward with this quality initiative.Congressman Hank Johnson, D-Lithonia, state Rep. Pamela Dickerson, D-Conyers, and state Sen. Ronald Ramsey, D-Decatur, shared their congratulatory comments for the department and county. Along with these individuals, city and county officials also shared comments about the achievement.
Brown spoke to those in attendance, saying that without the hard work of the employees of the NCSO, they would not have reached the achievement. He recognized Lt. Keith Crum and Drew Alexander with plaques for their hard work. Brown also recognized the daughter of former sheriff Bates, who served in the 1940s, and thanked former Sheriff Gerald Malcolm for hiring him and for "bringing diversity to the department."
Brown said the certification really began in 1822 with Sheriff Wynne.
"Those who served before cleared the land, Sheriff Malcolm laid the foundation, Sheriff Nichols built the walls... so that we could put the roof on the building," he said.
Certification is a self-initiated process by which law enforcement agencies strive to meet and preserve standards that have been established for the profession by the profession. These standards are selected to reflect critical areas of law enforcement operation, management and technical support activities. They also cover areas such as law enforcement emergency response planning, policy development, training, use of force, vehicular pursuit, property and evidence handling, holding facilities and prisoner transportation.This certification not only sets standards for the law enforcement agency but also for the delivery of law enforcement services to the citizens of Newton County. The certification was granted for a three-year period.