Sheriff Barry S. Faile
Sheriff’s office gets accreditation (Office one of 44 in state to receive status)
By Chris Sardelli
Sunday, March 20, 2011 at 6:00 am (Updated: March 20, 6:00 am)
It took months of preparation and hundreds of man hours, but the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office was recognized this week as it became one of only 44 state law enforcement agencies to earn its accreditation.
Speaking to a packed crowd at the Carole Ray Dowling Center near the University of South Carolina at Lancaster on Thursday morning, Lancaster County Sheriff Barry Faile thanked his officers and supporters for helping the sheriff’s office achieve the
Dozens of uniformed deputies and city police officers lined the room, listening to Faile accept the accreditation certificate from Berkeley County Sheriff Wayne DeWitt.
Several local and state officials, including Lancaster Police Chief Harlean Howard, Lancaster Mayor Joe Shaw, Heath Springs Mayor Ann Taylor, County Council Chairwoman Kathy Sistare and
state Rep. Deborah Long, R-District 45, were also in the crowd of more than 100 people.
DeWitt said the certificate was the culmination of months of hard work as Faile and the rest of his department took part in the voluntary S.C. Law Enforcement Accreditation program.
Created in 1999, the program is an initiative of the S.C. Sheriffs’ Association and the S.C.
Police Chiefs’ Association. By meeting specific criteria and after successful inspections of
the agency, the program is meant to increase an agency’s capabilities, provide better
departmental management, and increase effectiveness and efficiency of services delivered.
Also, by receiving accreditation, the office becomes part of an elite group that shares the same distinction. DeWitt told the crowd about meeting Faile two years ago and how from the beginning Faile wanted his office to achieve accreditation. He said it didn’t take long for Faile to begin planning for the accreditation process. “I said, ‘you might want to slow down a bit,’ but I’ll tell you, this young man had all his eggs in one basket and all his bases covered and everything went well,” he said. When Faile scheduled both a mock and a real inspection, DeWitt said two of the “toughest” inspectors in the state were sent to conduct the inspections. “They came back and said everything went so smooth and we were so well-treated,” DeWitt said. “They said everybody had the greatest morale and all we can report to you is an excellent report. They passed with flying colors.”
“That’s a credit to you,” DeWitt said. “That was one of the best inspections for any agency going through this for the first time.” But this isn’t a one-time process, warned DeWitt. “Once you attain accreditation, it’s not good forever. You have to renew it every three years,” he said. “On the board where I sit, we phrase it this way: All right, you received accreditation and you’ve written your bible, but three years from now, you have to show us you are living by it.”
DeWitt also talked about what accreditation means for the sheriff’s office and the county. He said it means the sheriff’s office is a more professional agency, it will increase officer morale and it means better service for the citizens of Lancaster County.
Also impressive, he said, is there are 290 law enforcement agencies in the state and only 44
of them are accredited. He said the sheriff’s office is now No. 44. “My hat is off to you, Sheriff Faile,” he said. After accepting the accreditation certificate from DeWitt, Faile shared his excitement over achieving one of his long-term goals. “This is a very important day for the sheriff’s office and for Lancaster County,” Faile said. “Being an accredited agency recognizes our commitment to leadership, professionalism, standards and accountability.”
“When I created this as a goal for us, I knew we’d attain it because of the dedicated men
and women at the sheriff’s office. All of the officers and staff can take credit for this
accomplishment. We did it as a team,” he said.
Faile also thanked Lancaster County Council for supporting the sheriff’s office. “Without the resources, we couldn’t do our jobs,” he said. “Lancaster County will be known statewide as a place with first-class law enforcement and a model for others to follow.”
Dining on a spread of food provided by County Council after the ceremony, Deputy J.P.
Catoe was one of several officers who expressed excitement about the recognition.
“It’s a major accomplishment for our department,” Catoe said. “It gives us pride to know we
are accredited statewide. This has taken a lot of hard work and dedication.” Sgt. James Whitaker shared Catoe’s sentiments. “We worked hard to get this. This was one of the sheriff’s goals and I was proud to be a part of the department,” Whitaker said. “It should be really good for the department and the county.”
After more than 30 years of service, Lt. Tawanna Barnes was also proud to see the accomplishment. “I’ve been with the sheriff’s office for 31 years and to know that before I leave we were accredited, that’s great,” Barnes said. “We just thank the Lord that it happened.”
The event was also important for Lancaster County Councilman Larry Honeycutt, who lauded the sheriff and his staff for their efforts. “It’s great for the sheriff’s office and wonderful for Lancaster County that we’ve been recognized as one of the best in the state,” Honeycutt said. “We’ve got a dynamic young sheriff and he’s determined to make this a sheriff’s department we can be proud of.”
Heath Springs Mayor Ann Taylor was so excited she wanted to cheer during the ceremony.
“I just wanted to stand up and say “We’re No. 11,” Taylor said about the sheriff’s office
becoming the 11th sheriff’s office in the state to be accredited. “I’m real proud of Lancaster
County and glad to be a part of it.”