After two years of complying with more than 200 standards, York County’s Department of Public Safety Communications on Saturday earned the OK by a national law enforcement accreditation body.
York County 911, whose 43 employees dispatch law enforcement, firefighters and EMS personnel to emergencies and incidents countywide, now stands as one of four accredited 911 centers in the state and will be re-evaluated every three years, according to a York County Sheriff’s Office news release.
Department employees had to meet 218 standards set by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), which reviewed the department’s organization, direction and supervision, human resources, recruitment and operations and preparation for critical incidents.
South Carolina requires that 911 center employees do two things: answer 911 calls and take an 80-hour training class at the criminal justice academy, said Gary Loflin, director of York County Public Safety Communications.
The national accreditation ensures that York County’s center abides by national standards, Loflin said.
In the two years employees worked toward accreditation, they had to rewrite the department’s policy and procedures manual, Loflin said.
The accrediting agency evaluated “the smallest detail on how we document a complaint from a citizen to the way we deal with the media if we have a situation where we need to deal with the media,” he said.
Interviewing and hiring practices fell under inspection to ensure the department remained unbiased when processing applications for potential employees.
“Essentially, it takes the good ol’ boys system out of our process,” he said.
The department received its accreditation during an awards banquet in North Charleston.
In 2010, the department was named South Carolina’s communications center of the year.
Jonathan McFadden • 803-329-4082