Morris County Sheriff’s Office Awaits Prized Re-accreditation Of Its Bureau of Law Enforcement

The Morris County Sheriff’s Office welcomes an upcoming, four-day onsite visit by an assessment team that will study policies, operations and support services to determine whether prestigious re-accreditation should be awarded to the Bureau of Law Enforcement.

Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon in his office in Morristown.
Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon in his office in Morristown.

The assessors – all law enforcement professionals from other accredited agencies – will be at the Morris County Courthouse from Monday, October 21, through Thursday, October 24, to peruse records, talk to as many Sheriff’s Office employees as possible, and observe how Sheriff’s Officers perform their duties in the courtroom and corridors.

Morris County Sheriff’s Office Detective Captain Denise Thornton, the agency’s Accreditation Manager, on Tuesday briefed Sheriff James M. Gannon, Chief Sheriff’s Officer Kelley Zienowicz, Chief Warrant Officer Richard Rose, and other administrative staff on what to expect from the final stage of the re-accreditation process.

Administered by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA), the four-year accreditation program requires agencies to comply with standards in four areas: policy and procedures, administration, operations, and support services. Prior to the on-site visit, Detective Captain Thornton and other staff have spent the past four years meeting web-based prongs of the accreditation process that positioned the agency for the site-based assessment.

From left, Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon, Chief Sheriff's Officer Kelley Zienowicz and Chief Warrant Officer Richard Rose listen to briefing by Agency Accreditation Manager Detective Captain Denise Thornton.
From left, Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon, Chief Sheriff’s Officer Kelley Zienowicz and Chief Warrant Officer Richard Rose listen to briefing by Agency Accreditation Manager Detective Captain Denise Thornton.

The Morris County Sheriff’s Office was first accredited in March of 1998 when the agency was found to be in compliance with 337 standards.  The agency has achieved reaccreditation five times since then.

The onsite team also may request to visit and observe Special Services of the Morris County Sheriff’s Office, including Crime Scene Investigation (CSI), K-9 and Bomb Squad.

The team will speak to representatives of other law enforcement agencies and groups with whom the Sheriff’s Office has developed partnerships or forged strong outreach relationships, including the Morris County Police Chiefs Association, members of the Jewish Chabad Community and the LGBTQ Community.

The team also will focus on Sheriff’s Office Community Outreach and Planning (COPS) activities, including the Hope One mobile substance use recovery and resource program, and components of the Sheriff’s Responsible School Violence Prevention, Preparation, Protection (RSVP-3) program.  RSVP-3 has three branches: a mobile app through which students can anonymously report threats to school safety; active shooter training; and Behavioral Threat Assessment Management (BTAM) curriculum and training to ensure police, schools and mental health professionals are in sync on behaviors that pose risks to school security.

Morris County Sheriff's Office Accreditation Manager Detective Captain Denise Thornton briefs Sheriff James M. Gannon and colleagues on the Accreditation process.
Morris County Sheriff’s Office Accreditation Manager Detective Captain Denise Thornton briefs Sheriff James M. Gannon and colleagues on the Accreditation process.

The public is an integral part of the accreditation process.

Agency employees and members of the community are invited to offer comments at a public information session on October 22, 2019 at 3 pm. The session will be conducted in the Freeholder Public Meeting Room located on the Fifth Floor of the County of Morris Administration & Records Building, 10 Court Street, Morristown, New Jersey, 07960.

Agency employees and the public are also invited to offer comments by calling 973-285-6053 on October 22, 2019 between the hours of 10 am and 12 pm. Comments will be taken by the Assessment Team. Telephone comments as well as appearances at the public information session are limited to 10 minutes and must address the agency’s ability to comply with CALEA’s standards.

A copy of the Standards is available at the main Sheriff’s Office located in the Morris County Courthouse, 56 Washington Street, Morristown, New Jersey, 07960.  Local contact is Accreditation Manager Detective/Captain Denise Thornton at 973-285-6675.

Anyone wishing to submit written comments about the Morris County Sheriff’s Office’s ability to comply with the standards for accreditation may send them to the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement, Inc. (CALEA), 13575 Heathcote Boulevard, Suite 320, Gainesville, Virginia, 20155 or email [email protected]