Sheriff's office receives association's recognition

The Clallam County Sheriff's Office has received accreditation from the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs.

The award - which recognizes the department's compliance with 140 standards and best practices - was a major goal set by Sheriff Bill Benedict during his run for the office in 2006.

Clallam is the sixth Washington county to be accredited. The department was the first to be so certified in 1988, but that accreditation expired in 1996.

Benedict credited retired Sheriff Steve Kernes, who served from 1978-1990, with helping draft new departmental policies that conform with best practices in law enforcement.

The sheriff also said Chris James, sheriff's administrative coordinator, managed the two-year process of qualifying for the award.

Advantages of accreditation, according to Benedict, include:

_ Acknowledgement of professional competence.

_ Systemized self-assessment by the department.

_ Better administration and operation.

_ Recognition of fair recruitment, hiring and promotion practices.

_ Decreased susceptibility to liability and potential reduction in liability insurance.

_ Improved morale and increased public confidence.

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