On Saturday March 21, 2015, the Aiken Department of Public Safety was awarded its sixth consecutive Law Enforcement Accreditation, by the national Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA). Chief Charles Barranco and Administrative Lieutenant Ben Harm traveled to Reno, Nev. to attend the CALEA conference, which allowed commissioners to ask questions about agency operations and review information obtained during an on-site visit by assessors in December of 2014.

A Saturday evening banquet was the highlight of the conference during which law enforcement agencies were recognized for their achievements and voted on by commissioners. ADPS was recognized as an Advanced Accredited Law Enforcement Agency with Excellence, among the highest levels of achievement an agency can receive. Advanced Accreditation requires departments to address about 480 standards of compliance, as opposed to the basic program, which uses about 180 standards. Accreditation with Excellence further recognizes an agency “for the effective use of accreditation as a model for the delivery of enhanced public safety services and management professionalism.” To be eligible for this distinction, a department must have:

At least 2 previous Accreditation Awards;
Must not have any current noncompliance issues;
Most recently been assessed via the Gold Standard Assessment model (which focuses on the outcomes of compliance); and
Must receive a unanimous recommendation from the CALEA Review Committee.

The accreditation confirmed that the department “demonstrates a commitment to professional excellence in policy and practice.” Chief Barranco said that there is a culture of professionalism at the department that is demonstrated not only by law enforcement accreditation but also by the department’s commitment to maintaining a high ISO (fire insurance) rating in its fire operations. Barranco expressed gratitude to the previous command staff, for “setting us on a path to success.” Chief Barranco said, “being accredited is just the normal course of business for our employees. They are trained a certain way and indoctrinated into a system of policies and procedures that just become part of their everyday work. I am extremely proud of how they interact with citizens and provide services to our community, while maintaining excellence and professionalism, even during some very trying circumstances.” ADPS also received the Meritorious Award, bestowed upon agencies that have been accredited for 15 or more continuous years.