"Why accreditation?"
Brian Lecarpentier
Grapevine, October 2008

Most of our personnel wonder why we put ourselves through the rigors of participating in a process of accreditation every three years for international assessment and every four years for state assessment. What reasons drive a decision to participate in such a process, or be affiliated with such an association? Prestige, standardization, heightened professionalism, accountability of performance through proof of compliance, decreased risk liability, competitive salaries, improved or enhanced equipment, and validation of public trust in the organization through international and statewide recognition. Did I mention the confirmation by an independent body of assessors trained to evaluate organizational merits from fiscal responsibility to the professional delivery of services to citizenry by field personnel that REAFFIRMS the trust placed in each of us by our citizenry?

Many of you have heard me say during my assignment in Professional Standards & Risk Management or possibly during instruction at the Basic Law Enforcement academies, "Failure to alert/confront/address a wrong doing is merely the perpetuation of the act by the observer." Accreditation is not dissimilar to that statement in spirit. What value do you bring to yourself, your supervision, your unit, the organization, or the greater community if you are not active in seeking out opportunities to advance that which you have been tasked to do through your professional performance?

The author Jim Collins, considered to be one of, if not the authority on identifying organizational leadership and those organizations that are successful beyond just market trend acceptability, wrote in the book Good to Great, that in order to move through the steps of transformation of a "good" organization to a "great" organization, individuals, supervisors, and leaders need to leave the "me" out of the formula and incorporate the "we" into it.

Before I was appointed to my present assignment, and probably for two-thirds of my employment, I assumed that the Sheriff/Chief/CEO, the Command Staff/company officers, and the accreditation manager were solely responsible for all proofs of compliance necessary to the successful attainment of an accredited agency status. Certainly, my present experiences have cleared up any misconception concerning how this and all other organizations attain such credentials. How is it really attained? Through exercising the "WE" concept. Each member of this and any other organization must contribute in the daily performance of his or her respective position and related responsibility at a level of professionalism that is indicative of an organization worthy of the title / classification / or certification. No one individual can accomplish what is necessary to demonstrate justifying the designation of an accredited organization.

How do you contribute? Perform each day as a professional within the discipline of the profession, the guidelines established by policies and procedures, the ethics of the profession, and perform each duty consistently while providing adequate documentation defensible to internal and external inspection. All of this is common sense and has been implemented across oceans, continents, governments, and religions; the concept or rather the practice of Servant Leadership.