Augusta County sheriff candidate Donald Smith comments on accreditation issue
This is my stance on the Augusta County Sheriff withdrawing the department accreditation. First, given the current investigation into the missing money and other items from the Sheriff’s Office, I support Sheriff Fisher’s decision to withdrawal from the accreditation program.
Furthermore, if Sheriff Fisher had not surrendered this program, the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission would have ultimately been forced to suspend the department’s accreditation for 18 months anyway so as to maintain the integrity of the accreditation process for all agencies. Therefore, the accreditation for the Augusta County Sheriff’s Office would not have been in place for 18 months regardless of how Sheriff Fisher chose to handle the situation. Accreditation is extremely important to any Sheriff’s Office, department, employees, and the community. Accreditation certifies a department to be eligible for Federal and State grants and protects agencies against legal recourse. Accreditation builds confidence and a trustworthy relationship between the agency and the community by demonstrating that an agency is committed to adhering to a set of accepted standards. As the Sheriff, I will work diligently to build the community’s trust again in our department and create programs that establish a reasonable transparency. I will work hard to make this department one that the citizens are proud of and over the next 18 months structure the Sheriff’s Office so that we don’t have reoccurring issues, like this one, within the department. We can then be reaccredited when eligible.
Should you have any questions, visit my website at www.donaldsmithforsheriff.com.