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State certification for sheriff's office
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The Dawson County Sheriff’s Office has joined an elite group of law enforcement professionals by receiving its state certification from the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police.

Sheriff Billy Carlisle said his agency was notified in May following an assessment of the department’s policies, procedures and operations.

“I’m real proud we got this back,” he said. “It shows that we are doing our jobs to the best of our ability — like we are supposed to be doing — to the state’s standards,” Carlisle said.

Citing the need for additional time to prepare for the assessment, Carlisle opted to temporarily withdraw from the state certification program last July.

“Our employees have worked extremely hard this last year to regain our state certification,” the sheriff said. “I am proud of how much they have come together to work on this. It was a goal for all of us.

“Of 159 counties, we are one of 18 sheriff’s offices in the state to hold state certification.”

Assessors with the police chiefs’ association spent two days in early May reviewing protocol and analyzing data the sheriff’s office compiled for the certification process.

Accreditation manager Bob Bolz said there are many benefits for the county from accreditation.

“For one, you’re meeting accepted professional standards in law enforcement,” he said. “Another is you’re having people outside your agency come in and assess your efforts, so it provides a good checks and balance to make sure we are where we should be as a professional agency. I think that’s really important.”

The sheriff’s office was endorsed as a Georgia State Certified Law Enforcement Operation in 2008.

According to the association’s Web site, “Certification acknowledges the implementation of policies and procedures that are conceptually sound and operationally effective.”

Law enforcement agencies’ participation in the program is voluntary.