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The Accreditation Unit, within the Office of Professional Compliance under the direction of Captain Robert Sessions, maintains the agency's national and international accreditations. The Unit is also responsible for reviewing and maintaining the agency’s written directives, for example, PCSO General Orders, Department Directives, Division Procedures, and all forms used by the agency. All publications and agency forms are extensively reviewed for compliance with all applicable accreditation standards before being disseminated to agency members.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office voluntarily participates in ten accreditation and inspection processes to reinforce the agency's commitment to meeting and exceeding standards of professional excellence.
Maintaining accreditation programs exemplifies the agency’s dedication to continued professionalism by adhering to established standards that promote efficient use of resources and enhance public service delivery. Each accreditation process requires an in-depth review of every aspect of the agency’s organization, management, operations, and administration, which include:
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This accreditation program recognizes professional achievements for addressing and complying with established standards developed by law enforcement practitioners covering a wide range of up-to-date law enforcement topics. Compliance with 459 standards is required for CALEA accreditation, the “gold star” for law enforcement. The agency was initially accredited in 1994 and has been successfully re-accredited at each review, receiving its most recent re-accreditation in November 2019. The agency has received a Certificate of Advanced Meritorious Accreditation in recognition for having been CALEA accredited for 23 continuous years. CALEA conducts on-sites every four years. The next on-site is scheduled for August 2023.
Developed by the Florida Sheriffs Association and the Florida Police Chiefs Association, this law enforcement accreditation process requires compliance with professional standards designed specifically for Florida law enforcement agencies. Upon our re-accreditation in June 2019, we transition to the Commission' new program, CFA Core Competencies Program (Core). This new program is only available to agencies who maintain continued accredited status with the CALEA Advanced Law Enforcement program. With this new program, the agency is required to comply with 90 standards. The agency was awarded its initial accreditation in 1998, and subsequently re-accredited every three years. CFA complete an on-site assessment in April 2022, and we are awatiing re-accreditation. The next on-site is scheduled for April 2025.
This accreditation program addresses every aspect of the detention process: admission, classification, housing, sanitation, food service, security, training, and medical. The Florida Model Jail Standards provide the primary basis for compliance with 256 accreditation standards. PCSO earned its initial accreditation in 2000 and has consistently maintained accreditation every three years, most recently in July 2021, earning 100% compliance in both applicable mandatory standards and non-mandatory standards. The next on-site assessment will be conducted in July 2024.
The NCCHC accreditation program provides standards to address the topics of medical and mental health care in prisons, jails, and juvenile confinement facilities; and compliance with 59 standards including the general areas of care and treatment, health records, administration, personnel, and medical-legal issues. This accreditation was received in 1985 and consistently maintained through the last on-site review in 2018. The on-site review in October 2021 was delayed for COVID-19 precautions and we are awaiting rescheduling.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office was the first law enforcement agency in the nation to obtain NIGP accreditation. This accreditation program recognizes those agencies that lead with best practices in the public procurement process. The agency's compliance with the applicable performance standards desmontraest quality, efficiency, and effectiveness in government purchasing. In March 2020, the agency was awarded its sixth consecutive NIGP accreditation since the initial accreditation, awarded in March 2002. It is up for review in March 2023.
This accreditation program for public safety agencies provides the best professional requirements and practices for public safety communications. This process requires compliance with 207 applicable standards as part of the internal review and assessment of our public safety communications functions. The agency was awarded its initial accreditation in 2002 and has been successfully re-accredited every three years by the CALEA Commission, the most recent being in March 2021. The next assessment is in November 2024.
This accreditation program requires criminal justice training academies to comply with 160 standards in the areas of policy and procedures, administration, operations, and support services. The Kenneth C. Thompson Institute of Public Safety, a joint partnership between our agency, area law enforcement agencies, and Polk State College, was the first community college training academy in the nation to earn this accreditation. The agency was awarded this accreditation in March 2007 and has been re-accredited at every review. On March 21, 2020, the agency received its fourth PSTAA accreditation.
Agencies desiring recognition as an Accredited Center of Excellence are required to complete a self-assessment study based on the 20 points of accreditation requirements established by the academy. The academy’s accreditation process and the associated Advanced Medical Priority Dispatch Systems (MPDS) protocols are based on generally accepted medical dispatch practice standards as published and promulgated by the National Association of EMS Physicians (NAEMSP), the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the American Medical Association (AMA), among others. The Emergency Communications Center was initially accredited in 2010 and most recently re-accredited on January 20, 2022. It is up for review in November 2024.
The Florida Telecommunications Accreditation Commission establishes standards, oversees an accreditation program, and awards accreditation to compliant Florida Communications Centers in the law enforcement, fire rescue, and emergency medical services disciplines. Compliance with 78 standards is required for FLA-TAC accreditation. In 2015, the agency first received FLA-TAC accreditation and received its second re-accreditation in June 2021. It is up for review in May 2024.
The International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED) has also established a standard of excellence for agencies to maximize the efficiency of the emergency fire dispatch system. This standard of excellence is based on the implementation and maintenance of fire priority dispatch system protocols established by the International Academy of Emergency Fire Dispatch. In early 2016, the Emergency Communications Center completed the self-assessment required for emergency fire dispatch accreditation. In March 2016, official notification was received that the Emergency Communications Center successfully met the accreditation requirements and was recognized as an Accredited Center of Excellence for emergency fire dispatch. Re-accreditation was awarded in April 2022. it is up for review in March 2025.