SHERIFF’S JAIL MANAGEMENT DIVISION EARNS STATE ACCREDITATION.
Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard announced his Jail Management Division received the Correction Division Accreditation from the New York State Sheriff’s Association. Sheriff Howard began the process of seeking accreditation in earnest in January of 2017, and beginning in July, a team of independent assessors began the process of reviewing the Sheriff’s policies, procedures, and performance against 166 individual standards. The assessment team spent weeks to review each standard and presented their findings and recommendations to the accreditation board. In early September, the board unanimously approved the team’s assessment, and its recommendation to award the Erie County Sheriff’s Office with accreditation. “My effort to increase staff and enhance staff performance through training has culminated in this accreditation award and recognition,” said Sheriff Timothy Howard. “Meeting the exacting standards of an independent group which is also recognized by the New York State Department of Justice and Criminal Standards, demonstrates my office’s commitment to all aspects of law enforcement and the community.” Some of the major components of jail operations reviewed by the assessment team were employee performance, fiscal management, use of force incidents, facility maintenance, internal affairs, health standards, and New York State Commission of Corrections Cycle Evaluations. The Sheriff’s Association offers this accreditation program to all County Sheriff’s Offices. Peter R. Kehoe, the Executive Director of the Sheriff’s Association, notes 166 individual standards must be met to obtain Correction Division Accreditation. Many of these standards have exacting requirements for the county jail, but he notes that "we have found that the extra work needed to comply with these is well worth the effort”. He also said that the Sheriff’s Association accreditation is a "seal of approval that brings state-wide recognition to efforts made by Sheriff Howard and his staff to make the county facilities a truly professional operation which is responsive to the needs of the people of Erie County.” Currently, there are thirty-one Sheriff’s Offices in New York who have achieved Correction Division Accreditation including the Erie County Sheriff’s Office, and this accreditation award is valid for five years. Sheriff Howard recognized the effort made by the Jail Management Division accreditation team and thanked; Superintendent Thomas Diina, Captain Jeffrey Hartman, Sergeant Lisa Jenkins (retired), Sergeant Robert Cathcart, and Crystal Quinn, R.N. “This team did an outstanding job preparing my office and the facilities for this review, working with the independent assessment team and fostering this process to the end,” said Howard. “It is important that all departments, levels of staff, and leadership be involved. This collaborative approach builds cooperation, improves morale, and creates a spirit of teamwork as everyone works toward a common goal.” Over the past few years, the Erie County Sheriff’s Office has been recognized for its innovative jail initiatives which include the Veteran’s Housing Unit and the Residential Treatment Program for inmates with mental health issues. Recently, the Sheriff’s Office implemented its substance addiction program that will work with community providers to help transition inmates with addiction issues to continuing care programs and now the office can add Correction Division Accreditation. Sheriff Howard’s office now has three of its major divisions accredited, Police Services, Civil Enforcement and now, Jail Management. According to the NYSSA, only twenty other state sheriff offices have these three accreditations.