ELIZABETH, NJ - Two Union County Sheriff’s officers were doing an eviction in Union Township, when they saw the house’s gas meter "spinning like a top" and candles left lit in the home, said Union County Sheriff Joseph Cyran.
“They do what they need to do, what we trained them to do, making sure emergency personnel responds quickly,” Cryan said Thursday night at the Union County Freeholders’ meeting, where the sheriff’s office was recognized for earning re-accreditation from the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police (NJSACOP).
The story exemplified the type of work and professionalism within the sheriff's office, which recently earned the credential again.
This is the third time the sheriff’s office has received accreditation from the NJSACOP, and the second time its received re-accreditation. The Union County Sheriff’s Office was first accredited in 2011, and then re-accredited in 2014 and again this year.
Only one percent of eligible law enforcement agencies in the state ever receive re-accreditation for a second time, said NJSACOP Accreditation Program Manager Harry Delgado last night. Of the agencies which initially receive accreditation, only 8 percent are re-accredited once more, he said.
“There's 500 law enforcement agencies that would be eligible to apply for accreditation” in the state, Delgado said. “To date, there's about 190 are accredited and that's because the process is very rigorous.”
Each law enforcement agency is up for re-accreditation every three years and must prove that it is upholding over five standards that are broken down into over 100 different categories.
Categories include fiscal control, performance evaluations, arrest procedures, investigative management, crime scene processing, and handling of arrestees who are in detention. An on-site inspection also takes place and most standards need more than one item of proof, Delgado said.
Accredited agencies have fewer liability and worker compensation claims and are better able to defend against lawsuits and citizen complaints, Delgado said.
“We, the NJASCOP, believe that the Union County Sheriff's Office works every day to be an asset to the community and strives to live up to the professional responsibilities,” Delgado said.
Cryan said the sheriff’s office is well-equipped and well-trained because of the partnership it has with the Board of Chosen Freeholders. He thanked them and the work of Sgt. Patrick Hora, who helped with the in-house evaluation process.
“We adopted and embraced this process early because it gives us an opportunity for continuous improvement, which allows us the opportunity, in-house, to continue to look at ourselves and do a better job,” Cryan said.