We Practice the Best Law Enforcement Practices at a High Standard of Professionalism

Accreditation is a voluntary pursuit of professionalism and an investment in excellence. For many years, schools, universities, and hospitals have been accredited to hold them to a higher level of accountability and to provide an outside, objective “stamp of approval”. Accreditation provides law enforcement with objective evidence of an agency’s commitment to excellence in leadership, resource management, and service-delivery. It also provides a better defense against lawsuits and citizen complaints by confirming that required training has been provided and equipment is operable and up to date.

The Sheriff’s Office participates in the following accreditation and inspection processes:

  • Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA);
  • American Correctional Association and the Commission on Accreditation for Corrections (ACA/CAC);
  • Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation, Inc. (CFA);
  • Florida Corrections Accreditation Commission, Inc. (FCAC);
  • Florida Model Jail Standards (FMJS);
  • National Bomb Squad Commanders Advisory Board (NBSCAB);
  • International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED); and
  • Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA).

Accreditation is a voluntary process that affirms an agency’s commitment to the highest standards of professionalism and service. Each process has fixed standards that an agency must initially demonstrate compliance with, and then demonstrate continuing adherence to, in order to achieve re-accreditation.

Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA)
The Sheriff’s Office was initially accredited by the CALEA in 1990. CALEA is an international accreditation program created under the auspices of the National Sheriff’s Association, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, and the Police Executive Research Forum. Compliance with 484 standards is required for a law enforcement agency to obtain and maintain its accreditation. Assessments are conducted by qualified assessors chosen by CALEA from outside the State of Florida. The Commission re-accredited the Sheriff’s Office in 1995, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2009, 2012, and 2015. Additionally, the MCSO received a certificate of Advanced Meritorious Accreditation in recognition for having been CALEA accredited for 25 continuous years.

American Correctional Association and the Commission on Accreditation for Corrections (ACA/CAC) Founded in 1870, the ACA has championed the cause of corrections and correctional effectiveness. The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office Central Jail received its initial ACA “Adult Local Detention Facility Standards” Accreditation in 1992. Accreditation requires a stringent audit covering 383 standards which focus on facility operations, security, inmate healthcare and education. Audits are conducted by qualified auditors chosen by ACA from outside the State of Florida. The ACA/CAC re-accredited the MCSO Central Jail in 1996, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2011, and 2014.

Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation, Inc. (CFA)
In 1996, the Sheriff’s Office became one of the first agencies in the State to achieve law enforcement accreditation through the CFA. The Commission was created under the auspices of the Florida Sheriff’s Association and the Florida Police Chiefs Association to address law enforcement management and community service issues relative to the State of Florida. The agency demonstrated compliance with 84 standards; the Commission re-accredited the Sheriff’s Office in 1999, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2011, and 2014. Additionally, the MCSO holds “Excelsior Agency” status from CFA for continued excellence.

Florida Corrections Accreditation Commission (FCAC)
The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office Central Jail was first accredited by the FCAC in 2011, and was subsequently re-accredited in 2014. This program evaluates corrections operations against the Commissions strict standards, a process that helps agency staff identify and remedy deficiencies while upgrading the overall quality of correctional programs and services. Currently, there are 248 standards addressing all aspects of corrections services including admission, classification, housing, security, and training.

Florida Model Jail Standards (FMJS)
The Florida Model Jail Standards are minimum standards which jails across Florida must meet to ensure the constitutional rights of those incarcerated are upheld as outlined by Florida Statute 951.23 (4) (a). Inspections are required every year and must be completed by a certified jail inspector. The inspection process involves an evaluation of the physical environment, food services, medical and administrative practices.

Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA)
The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) was passed by Congress in 2003. The purpose of the act is to “provide for the analysis of the incidence and effects of prison rape in Federal, State, and local institutions and to provide information, resources, and recommendations and funding to protect individuals from prison rape.” (Prison Rape Elimination Act, 2003). The act also created the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission and charged it with developing draft standards for the elimination of prison rape. Those standards became effective August 20, 2012 (National PREA Resource Center). The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office supports the prosecution of persons who commit acts of sexual misconducted in its facilities and has a zero-tolerance policy for all forms of sexual misconduct and sexual assault. The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office Central Jail must comply with 43 standards concerning prevention, detection, and response to sexual abuse in confinement. Initial certification was received in 2014, becoming the 2nd county in Florida to be certified as PREA Compliant.

International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED)
Agencies desiring recognition as an Accredited Center of Excellence are required to complete a self-assessment study bases on the 20 points of accreditation requirements established by the academy. The academy’s accreditation process and the associated Emergency Police Dispatch (EPD) protocols are based on generally accepted emergency dispatch practices standards as published and promulgated by the National Academy of Emergency Dispatch. The Manatee County Sheriff's Office Communications Center was initially accredited in September 2014, becoming the 8th EPD Accredited Center of Excellence in the world.

National Bomb Squad Commanders Advisory Board
The National Bomb Squad Commanders Advisory Board (NBSCAB) serves as the leadership element of the U.S. Bomb Squad program, giving strong advice to Federal agencies that support bomb squads regarding important bomb squad related issues and acting as the final decision making authority on guidelines and standards for the profession. An agency must meet many stringent standards regarding equipment, certified personnel and specific guidelines for hazardous device procedures. Manatee County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad has met these standards and is accredited through March 14, 2021.

Benefits of Accreditation:
The benefits of accreditation for agencies that choose to go through the process and comply with national and state standards gain professionalism and recognition. When an agency improves its methods and services, it builds understanding, confidence, and morale within the agency and with the citizens it serves. It also promotes professional relationships within the law enforcement and criminal justice communities. The accreditation process establishes norms by which agency performance can be measured, primarily through written directives that become the reference by which action is taken and tasks accomplished. The process also develops personnel systems, such as selection, hiring, internal discipline, and others, to become effective, responsive, fair and equitable.

Accreditation is a coveted award that symbolizes professionalism, excellence, and competence. It requires written directives and training to inform employees about policies and practices; facilities and equipment to ensure employees’ safety; and processes to safeguard employees’ rights. Employees of the Manatee County Sheriff's Office take pride in their law enforcement service, knowing it represents the very best in law enforcement.

For more information contact our Accreditation Manager Sandra Guajardo