OSWEGO, NY – Only 18 out of the state’s 62 counties (sheriff’s departments) qualified for civil accreditation, according to Peter Kehoe, counsel and executive director of the NYS Sheriffs’ Association. Oswego County is now one of them.
“So, it is obvious that this is no easy accomplishment,” he said.
And this comes on top of the accreditation of the law enforcement division, he added.
“Both of these accomplishments are great testament to Sheriff (Reuel) Todd and the entire staff of the sheriff’s office. It shows their pursuit of dedication in their profession,” he said. “You have an outstanding sheriff’s office and it is well-respected throughout the state. I know Sheriff Todd’s advice and counsel are regularly sought by many of his fellow sheriffs.”
Todd was president of the State Sheriffs’ Association and is currently a member of its governing executive committee.
Accreditation isn’t something that doesn’t just happen by asking, Kehoe pointed out.
“To achieve accreditation, requires that the Civil Office meets a very strict set of standards set by experts in the field of civil process,” he explained. “These standards currently have 121 individual components. And to gain accreditation, a civil office must submit itself to scrutiny by an outside board of officers, which reviews the agency’s operation in detail to ascertain whether the agency meets the demanding standards.”
The Oswego County Sheriff’s Office’s Civil Division “meets or exceeds every one of those standards,” according to Kehoe.
The citizens of Oswego County, and the legislature, are responsible for the financial support of the sheriff’s office, Kehoe noted.
“They should be very proud of their sheriff’s office,” he added.
“Those who work in the Civil Division are, in my mind, the unsung heroes of our justice system. Everyone is pretty much aware of the work the sheriff’s Patrol Division does enforcing criminal laws. But few understand the work of the sheriff’s Civil Division. They are the strong right arm of our Civil Court System; facilitating and enforcing the mandates and orders of the Civil Court,” Kehoe continued.
The work these deputies do is just as important and just as dangerous as the work done in the Patrol Division, he pointed out.
“Too many people, unhappy with a court judgment against them try to take it out on the civil deputy who is just trying to do his or her job,” he said. “Civil deputies, as well as our criminal law enforcement deputies all deserve our respect and our thanks for the tough job that they do for us.”
Accreditation isn’t just for bragging rights (my county is better than your county), he explained.
“There are many positive affects of accreditation,” he said. “It improves the operation and performance of your agency, it increases morale – employees know that measured by some objective standard, they are doing an excellent job and someone actually recognizes them for that.”
It also reduces the incidents of lawsuits and liability as well as insurance costs for the county, and produces savings for self-insured counties, he said.
“Most importantly, I think it increases the public’s confidence in the agency and that is why the sheriffs’ association puts so much time and resources into conducting the accreditation program,” Kehoe said.
“We’ve been working very hard on it for a long time,” the sheriff said of the Civil Division.
He recognized Deputy Cory E. Monroe as being instrumental in working toward the department’s civil accreditation.
“He put forth a real dedicated effort and he and the entire staff up there have done a fantastic job,” Todd said.
Monroe thanked the sheriff, undersheriff and the Civil Division staff for making the accreditation possible.