What is Accreditation?

Accreditation is a special status that is accorded to a law enforcement agency by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc.  Accreditation in law enforcement is similar to accreditation of other fields i.e., hospitals, or colleges.  It means the agency has met specific standards of excellence and operates according to norms established by international law enforcement practitioners.

Why Accreditation?

Accreditation is a self improvement process for law enforcement agencies.  The purpose of accreditation is to provide law enforcement agencies the opportunity to demonstrate voluntarily that they meet nationally recognized practices of quality in the law enforcement field, while still maintaining local control.  Accreditation compels an agency to operate within specific guidelines, thereby strengthening accountability throughout all levels of the agency.  The CALEA accreditation process also acts as a valuable management tool, providing the necessary structure to continually promote the efficient use of resources and improve service delivery.

What is CALEA?

The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc., (CALEA®) was created in 1979 as a credentialing authority through the joint efforts of law enforcement’s major executive associations:

  • International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP);
  • National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE);
  • National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA); and
  • Police Executive Research Forum (PERF).

CALEA’s purpose was to establish a body of professional standards and to develop an accreditation process.

CALEA Standards

The standards upon which the Law Enforcement Accreditation Program is based reflect the current thinking and experience of law enforcement practitioners and researchers. Major law enforcement associations, leading educational and training institutions, governmental agencies, as well as law enforcement executives internationally, acknowledge CALEA’s Standards and its Accreditation Programs as benchmarks for professional law enforcement agencies.

CALEA standards address nine major law enforcement subjects:

  • Role, Responsibilities, and Relationships with Other Agencies
  • Organization, Management, and Administration
  • Personnel Structure
  • Personnel Process
  • Operations
  • Operational Support
  • Traffic Operation
  • Prisoner and Court-Related Activities
  • Auxiliary and Technical Services
LCSD CALEA Accredited

Lexington County Sheriff’s Department received its initial award of CALEA Accreditation in 1999. In 2022, the agency received its eighth CALEA Accreditation Award and was presented with the Meritorious Award.  The Meritorious Award recognizes CALEA accredited agencies for having been accredited for 15 or more continuous years.

“The Assessment team found LCSD to be a highly professional, full-service law enforcement agency that provides an extraordinary level of law enforcement services.” – Excerpt from the 2014 CALEA Assessment Report