From left are Inspector Donny Barrios, Accreditation Lt. David Smith, Sheriff Rick Ramsay, Accreditation Specialist Angela Kirk, Inspector General Capt. Lee Ann Holroyd and Robert Allen with Professional Standards. MCSO/Contributed

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office recently received excelsior awards for reaccreditation in law enforcement and corrections from the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation and Florida Corrections Accreditation Commission governing bodies.

This marks the third excelsior award for corrections and the second excelsior award for law enforcement. The excelsior recognition is the highest level of achievement in Florida accreditation a criminal justice agency can receive and it is earned by successfully completing reaccreditation with no corrective actions or compliance issues.

The sheriff’s office is professionally accredited by five separate accreditation agencies:  The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (national law enforcement accreditation);  The American Correctional Association (national corrections accreditation); The Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditations; The Florida Corrections Accreditation Commission; and The National Commission on Correctional Health Care.

The process for any professional accreditation is extremely difficult and requires extensive preparation, many inspections — both internal and by the accreditation agency itself — and a level of professionalism that is not easily achieved. Accreditation requires an agency to adhere to exacting standards in hundreds of different areas, including operations, record keeping, finance, equipment, training and many others.

And it doesn’t stop with accreditation being awarded. The agency must be re-accredited every two to three years by each organization. This entails more inspections and more close examination to ensure the agency continues to live up to required standards.

From left are Sgt. Edward Sabillon, Sgt. Alvarez Rice, Accreditation Specialist Mary Valdez, Maj. Tim Age, Sheriff Rick Ramsay, Florida Corrections Accreditation Commission Chairman (FCAC) and Highlands County Sheriff Paul Blackman, Capt. Jonathon Crane, Sgt. Robert Salter and Executive Director of the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation (CFA) and FCAC Danielle Terrell. MCSO/Contributed

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