Office of Professional Standards

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Captain Donna Dunham

(706) 541-3918

 

 

The Office of Professional Standards includes the functions of Training, Internal Affairs, Accreditation and Human Resources. This Division is vital to the basic operations of the Sheriff’s Office.

 

Training

 

One of our most critical responsibilities in law enforcement is training. It is our duty to ensure that our employees receive the most innovative and current training available.  We must remain diligent in striving to stay current with ever-changing laws and to provide this information to our employees.  Our goal is to provide the citizens we serve with the best trained, most highly skilled, and ethical public servants possible. 

 

The Training Unit consists of Lieutenant Mike Riley, Staff Sergeant Dave Wheeler and Deputy Dale Newman.  They, along with adjunct instructors, ensure employees from all divisions receive critical training that meets the guidelines of the Georgia Police Officer Training and Standards Council in conjunction with meeting Sheriff's Office goals and objectives. 

 

Sheriff Whittle has partnered with the Georgia Public Safety Training Council (GPSTC) to host the twelve week Basic Law Enforcement Police Academy course and the two week Basic Jail Officer Training course.  Employees of the Sheriff's Office conduct the training with oversight by the Regional Director of GPSTC.

 

The Sheriff opened a new training facility in July 2014.  It is located at 215 Range Road in Appling and is adjacent to the firearms range which was opened in September 1997.  The training complex consists of:

  • Three Classrooms
  • Training Complex
  • Live fire shoot house
  • 50 yard pistol range
  • 100 yard rifle range
  • 300 yard rifle range 

RangeCitizen's Firearms Familiarization classes are conducted regularly throughout the year.  Topics covered include classroom instruction on Georgia law pertaining to use of force and weapons carry.  The fundamentals of shooting are covered and participants are provided the opportunity to apply those fundamentals on the range with the assistance of a range safety officer.  For more information, please contact the Community Services Division at (706) 541-2856.

 

The Law Enforcement Officer's Safety Act (LEOSA), also know as HR 218, allows qualified active and honorably retired law enforcement officers to carry their firearms concealed nationwide.  A background check and firearms qualification must occur every 12 months, within the state you reside, to adhere to the requirements of LEOSA.  To begin a background check, schedule an appointment by contacting Investigator Wynn Howard (706) 541-4023 or Administrative Assistant Becky Reese (706) 541-2876.  More information on LEOSA is located on the link listed below.

 

  

 

Internal Affairs

 

Lieutenant Chris Railey oversees the functions of the Internal Affairs Unit.  This unit is responsible for conducting background investigations, polygraph/CVSA tests and internal affairs investigations.  The mission of the internal affairs unit is to ensure thorough fact-finding investigations are conducted to provide honesty and accountability to the citizens we serve.  A statistical review of complaints is conducted annually to address whether additional training may be necessary.  It is only through these actions that we will continue to maintain the public's trust.  The employees of the Columbia County Sheriff's Office strive daily to provide the citizens of Columbia County with professional and courteous service.

 

One key to maintaining a premiere level of service is open communications with those we serve. In keeping with this philosophy, we actively seek your comments and concerns.  Should you feel that you have been treated in a manner that is anything less than professional by any employee of this agency, we ask that you call the communications center at (706) 541-2800 and request to meet with a supervisor.

Our objective is to treat every citizen of Columbia County with dignity and respect. Our goal is to not only meet but exceed your expectations.  Listed below is a summary of investigated complaints from 2016.

 

 

 2016 SHERIFF'S OFFICE ANNUAL STATISTICAL
SUMMARY OF COMPLAINTS
 

COMPLAINT Sustained Not Sustained Undetermined TOTAL
Conduct Unbecoming
an Employee
0 4 0 4
Bias Based Profiling 0 2 0 2
Minor Unprofessionalism 1 5 0 6
Racism 0 1 0 1
Harassment 0 1 0 1
 Rude/Discourteous Conduct
Excessive use of force  0
 GCIC Violation
TOTALS 4 15 1 20

 

2016 DETENTION CENTER ANNUAL STATISTICAL
SUMMARY OF COMPLAINTS
 

COMPLAINT Sustained Not Sustained Resolved with Citizen TOTAL
Minor Unprofessional Conduct 0 1 0 1
 TOTALS 0 1 0 1

 

2016 COMMUNICATIONS CENTER ANNUAL STATISTICAL
SUMMARY OF COMPLAINTS

COMPLAINT

 

Sustained

Not

Sustained

Undetermined

TOTAL
Hostile Workplace 0 1 0 1
TOTALS 0 1 0 1

Senior Investigator Wynn Howard is the Background Investigator.  He is responsible for thoroughly investigating applicants interested in employment with the Sheriff's Office.  This function enables the Sheriff's Office to hire the highest standard of employee to maintain a superior level of professionalism. This system is critical in preserving the quality of service we provide to the citizens of Columbia County.  In addition to his regular duties, Investigator Howard also assists Lieutenant Railey with Internal Affairs investigations.

 

Accreditation
Accreditation provides a set of standards, governed by an accrediting body, to improve the delivery of services. Accreditation is recognition for professional excellence. Sheriff Whittle embraces the benefits of accreditation and voluntarily strives continually to improve all aspects of the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office. Accreditation was awarded to the sheriff’s office in 1996, the communication center in 2004 and the detention center and medical unit in 2007.  Each accreditation covers a three-year cycle.  The accrediting bodies are:


  • The American Correctional Association (ACA) promotes improvement in the management of jails through the administration of an accreditation program and the ongoing development and revision of relevant, useful standards.


Lieutenant Pamela Goddard, Staff Sergeant Teresa Reynolds and Sergeant Krista Johnson work diligently to ensure compliance with all standards by requiring that the proper paperwork is compiled and submitted for review on a regular basis. Conducting these reviews ensures compliance and also allows for the modification and implementation of policy. Currently there are over 1000 standards for the sheriff’s office, communication center, detention center and medical unit. This accreditation team keeps up with new law enforcement, communications, detention and medical care trends, thus allowing the agency to continue to operate in a progressive and professional manner. What was acceptable yesterday may not be acceptable tomorrow; it is only through accreditation that we will meet the goals for the future.

 

A new methodology, known as the Gold Standard Assessment (GSA), is being offered to agencies seeking reaccreditation.  This voluntary assessment format focuses primarily on processes and outcomes associated with standards specific to agency policies.  It works to measure the impact of accreditation as opposed to simply confirming compliance through a file-by-file review.  In short, standards compliance is verified through interviews and observations of agency personnel in their normal day-to-day work environment where the specific activities are expected to occur.  Agencies must meet the following criteria prior to being considered to participate in the GSA process:

 

  • Must be approved by the CALEA Board of Commissioners
  • Must have two previous accreditation awards at the level of accreditation currently being sought
  • Must not have had compliance issues in most recent assessment
  • Must not have had process management issues in most recent assessment
  • Must not currently be under a consent decree or memorandum of understanding
  • Must not be exercising agency requested assessment extension option for current process
  • Must have submitted all three Agency Status Reports as required and on time


The Triple Crown Award was established by the National Sheriff’s Association to recognize those sheriffs who achieve simultaneous accreditation from CALEA, ACA and NCCHC. Achieving these accreditations individually is a daunting task.  Acquiring all three at the same time is an extraordinary feat. In fact, the Triple Crown Award is so rarely earned that since its establishment in 1993, fewer than 100 sheriffs nationwide have qualified. In 2008, Sheriff Whittle received this prestigious award and is the only sheriff in Georgia who continues to maintain it.

 

During the Reno, Nevada CALEA Conference in March 2015, the Columbia County Sheriff's Office received two awards, The "CALEA Accreditation with Excellence Award" and the "Certificate of Meritorious Accreditation".  The criteria for the CALEA Accreditation with Excellence Award are:

 

  • Must have a minimum of two previous consecutive CALEA Accreditation awards
  • Must not have conditions or noncompliance issues resulting from the current or last assessment
  • Current assessment must have been conducted under the Gold Standard Assessment model
  • At the time of current assessment, the agency must be in compliance with 90 percent of all applicable other-than-mandatory standards
  • Current Assessment Report must have limited file maintenance and not more than two applied discretion issues
  • Must not be operating under any active Federal Consent Decree or Memorandum of Understanding, or state-level complementary action
  • Must not currently be affected by issues that detract from the overall tenets or goals of CALEA Accreditation
  • Must receive a unanimous recommendation of support from the assigned CALEA Review Committee

The Commission reviews each qualifying agencies' assessment report.  These awards are determined by the full Commission and announced during the CALEA Awards Banquet.  The CALEA Accreditation with Excellence Award attaches to the agency's accreditation award for a period of three years.

 

The criteria for the "Certificate of Meritorious Accreditation" is having been accredited for 15 or more continuous years.  This award displays a blue "Meritorious" ribbon and an inscription proclaiming accredited status.

Sheriff Whittle says, “Accreditation is not a goal. It is a way of life, a mindset, and the standards by which we professionally serve the public”.        

 

Human Resources

Glewnia Daniel is the Human Resources Specialist.  She is the contact person for all human resources related issues.  She conducts orientation for all new employees.  She is responsible for creating and maintaining the agency organizational chart, time sheets and employee work and medical files. She keys payroll, coordinates employee insurance enrollment and ensures all other duties with this assignment are completed.

 

The Sheriff's Office employs 375 people.  The records she maintains are vital to the operation of the agency.  For questions relating to employment, please contact Glewnia Daniel by telephone or email.  Applications may be sent to the address listed below.

 

Glewnia Daniel
HR Specialist
2273 County Camp Rd.

Appling, GA  30802

Ph: (706) 541-3937 / Fax: (706) 541-2781

EMAIL

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