The Wisconsin Law Enforcement Accreditation Group, Inc. formally announced and presented the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office with its prestigious Certificate of Accreditation at a board meeting on Monday, August 21. WILEAG’s motto of “Challenging Wisconsin’s Law Enforcement Agencies to Achieve Excellence” resonated with Sheriff Dale Schmidt and as a result, the sheriff’s office continuously strives to meet the standards set forth by the Accreditation Group.
The Community Oriented Policing Service (COPS) branch of the United States Department of Justice recognizes law enforcement agency accreditation as follows:
Law enforcement agency (LEA) accreditation is a self-initiated process of adopting and maintaining standardized policies and procedures. LEAs operate within a specific set of state- and/or nationally recognized standards that are determined and defined by an accreditation body. To obtain accreditation, an LEA must work with a state or national accreditation body to develop and adopt a specific set of operational standards -the number of standards varies by accreditation entity – and maintain compliance during the accreditation period. Tribal LEAs may seek accreditation through state or national accreditation bodies.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) & COPS Office support agency accreditation and recognize the importance of adhering to the highest standards of police policies and operations. The community benefits when its law enforcement personnel are following standardized policies and procedures that provide efficient, effective, and fair policing. Accreditation of agencies helps to ensure accountability and transparency that can enhance confidence and trust in law enforcement among the communities they serve.
In 2021, the sheriff determined that the sheriff’s office was at a point in which it was ready to seek accreditation which demands that an agency meet 262 applicable standards. A grant opportunity became available and was applied for by the sheriff’s office, bringing $75,000 to the agency to go through the rigorous preparation and evaluation process. In the spring of 2023, the sheriff’s office completed its preparation process, which normally takes agencies three years to complete.
In March of this year, an onsite assessment took place in which the assessment team made the following recommendations to the WILEAG board:
“Throughout the on-site assessment, the staff of the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office extended excellent cooperation to the assessor team in a manner consistent with the principles that guide their community and professional relationships. Reflecting on their proofs of compliance and our observations of the agency, the team concluded unanimously that the agency had achieved compliance with the applicable standards established by the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Accreditation Group. As such, it is the recommendation of the assessors that the governing board review the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office for the purpose of considering the bestowal of accredited status.”
On June 19 the WILEAG board approved the Accreditation of the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office and was presented with the attached Certificate of Accreditation on August 21.
Sheriff Dale Schmidt would like to recognize Chief Deputy Chad Enright, Captain Jason Boeck, Lieutenant Christine Churchill, Lieutenant Brian Drumm, Lieutenant Brian Loos, Lieutenant Joseph Nicholas, Lieutenant Taylor Nehls, retired Chief Deputy Scott Mittelstadt, and former Lieutenant Robbie Weinfurter for their leadership, hard work, and dedication in preparing the agency for accreditation. Once Sheriff Schmidt brought accreditation to the table for completion, his team was able to bring the agency across the finish line and they deserve a great deal of credit for the excellent work done.
The Dodge County Sheriff’s Office Accreditation is valid for three years and follow-up assessments will continue every three years. While it will still take hard work and dedication by our staff to maintain our accreditation into the future, processes are now built into our everyday operations to make that work manageable.
Sheriff Dale Schmidt would also like to thank the front-line staff of the sheriff’s office. While the work of implementing a best practice fell vastly to the administrative team, our front-line staff have taken on tweaking procedures to implement these best practices in the field. They could not be more proud of the way their staff perform in service of our community.