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NCSO awarded state certification
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The Newton County Sheriff's Office, is one of the "top 100 law enforcement agencies" in Georgia. On July 17, the NCSO received official notification that they were awarded state certification by the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police. This notification confirmed that they successfully completed all aspects of the accreditation process. Achieving state certification places them in the company of 76 sheriff's offices, 17 police departments and five other state departments, including, the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, colleges and the Marshals Office.

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 carefully 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.

State certification is only available to agencies that have demonstrated proven commitment to excellence and professionalism. The certification has been granted for a three year period and participation in the program is strictly voluntary.

Benefits of certification include: increased accountability among agency personnel and enhanced application of policies; increase access to independent evaluation of agency operations; decreasing an agency's exposure to liability, building stronger defense against lawsuits and potentially reducing liability insurance cost; enhancing the reputation of the agency and increasing the public trust and confidence in it; requiring the agency to commit policies and procedures to writing; providing a base to correct deficiencies before they become public problems; and providing a "norm" upon which agencies judge their performance.

"Sheriff [Ezell] Brown would like to thank those before him for leaving a foundation on which to build," said a press release from the NCSO. "He would also like to thank each and every one at the Sheriff's Office for their work, vision and the willingness to work for one of the many goals set during his administration. This certification will work to assure the general public that the Newton County Sheriff's Office is prepared, trained and ready to handle emergencies and calls for service. State certification provides a seal of approval that shows our directive to "serve and protect" is guided by a sound, formal system that incorporates best business practices into agency policies and operational plans.

"Most of us learn the hard way that leadership is not merely having a vision; anyone can dream. Effective leadership is knowing how to lay down the action steps for yourself and the organization so that the vision can be realized. This requires us to be practical and to understand the process along the way," said Brown.

The State Certification will be presented during a departmental celebration to be held in the near future.