Sheriff Craig Webre announced that the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office has been re-accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA) and attained new accreditations for the Training Academy and Communications. The three accreditations earned LPSO the Tri-Arc status, a distinction held by fewer than 30 agencies in the U.S. and Mexico combined.
The announcement of the accreditations came Thursday, July 30, 2020 during CALEA’s annual conference which is being held virtually this year due to COVID-19.
“As law enforcement standards, practices and actions continue to be questioned and challenged throughout the world, we continue to subject ourselves to an even higher level of scrutiny,” said Sheriff Webre. “There are ongoing debates about body cameras and policies, but we believe accreditation provides the ultimate level of accountability and transparency. CALEA ensures we not only have fair and legal policies in place, and just as importantly, that those policies are practiced. This is just another way in which we ensure the highest levels of professional service to the people of Lafourche Parish.”
This marks the seventh time the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office has been accredited by CALEA. The agency was initially accredited in 2000 and has been re-accredited six consecutive times. LPSO must meet more than 400 standards in order to gain accredited status for the agency which now lasts for a period of four years. During that time, the agency must submit annual reports attesting to continued compliance with those standards under which it was initially accredited. The agency also submits proofs that are reviewed by CALEA compliance personnel to ensure policies are indeed being followed.
Realizing the training and communications functions of any agency come with their own unique challenges, CALEA offers separate accreditation programs for both. For the first time, the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office participated in a simultaneous review of all three programs when assessors visited the parish in December 2019. While here, the four Assessors interviewed more than 80 employees, community leaders, first responders and other leaders of other local and state agencies to assess the impact the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office has on the community.
The Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office Regional Training Academy was first certified by the Louisiana Peace Officer Standards and Training Council in April 1986 and has maintained its status ever since. To achieve its accreditation, the academy had to meet 155 standards. The academy trains officers from agencies throughout the state and was recognized during the accreditation review for standout services like the LPSO Shooting Range, reserve deputy program, and crisis intervention training.
The men and women of the Communications Section answer thousands of calls for service each year. The Communications Section had to meet compliance with 212 standards. The section was lauded for its operations, including dispatching for various police and fire departments across the parish and community outreach via the Bayou Children’s Museum. There, children are taught how to call for help and how to interact with first responders.
In achieving accreditation in all three areas, CALEA honored the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office with the Tri-Arc award. The award name reflects the three separate programs and symbolizes the synergistic power and light created as a result of an unusual achievement. The Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office becomes one of fewer than 30 agencies in the United States and Mexico to achieve Tri-Arc status.
As announced in May, Sheriff Webre was also honored by CALEA with the Egon Bittner Award during the virtual conference. The award is presented to Chief Executive Officers who have commanded a CALEA Accredited agency for fifteen or more continuous years. Dr. Egon Bittner, himself, greatly contributed to CALEA’s early development in 1979-80, and he served as a CALEA Commissioner from 1981 through 1988. He was a professor of Sociology at Brandeis University in Massachusetts, with a national standing on law enforcement issues. He retired from Brandeis in 1991 and died in 2011.