Sheriff David A. Weaver (pictured far left) with his command staff proudly pose in front of the Justice Center in Castle Rock after receiving national recognition for program excellence.
By Joe Gschwendtner; photo courtesy of the DCSO
Few people in Douglas County doubt the steely efficiency of the sheriff's office; just ask the bad guys who never get away. This month, Douglas County received national acclaim when it was awarded recognition and accreditation in Jacksonville, Florida for program excellence. Only the very finest law enforcement agencies in the world lay claim to this honor.
It is not that we didn't already know our law enforcement professionals were good. It is something felt viscerally in our county. Sheriff Weaver and his command staff decided to prove it to themselves. In 2010, they enrolled in a grueling policies and practices program administered by the Commission on the Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA).
Despite its own demanding standards, the department committed itself to a rigorous self-assessment of its own best practices in almost 1,100 policy and procedural areas. Once the internal review was complete, the DCSO then had to prove compliance and execution in departmental operations. CALEA's demands were austere, insisting that procedural standards be followed in both letter and spirit.
This objective demanded a review of every moving part in the sheriff's office. No small task, it required intense and full-time focus of top departmental commanders. Captain Darren Weekly headed up the accreditation team, ably assisted by Deputies Angie Bylin and Tom Vondra. Deputy Cocha Heyden was the accreditation manager.
The good news was that most directives, safety services, resource policies and practices were first-rate already. Yet the accreditation exercise was productive for all, because it caused a useful re-evaluation of all action dynamics and departmental follow-up.
To those familiar with the DCSO's pride, the accreditation requirements, not surprisingly, were completed 12 months early. After the on-site inspection, CALEA's review commission and credentialing authority paid the department an unsolicited tribute, remarking that "we can see your mission, vision, and value statements in everything you do, and not just written on the walls." He also called the assessment "one of the best inspections ever" and the people who work there "incredible."
Hat's off to our Douglas County protectors and the staff who support them!