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Gainesville, Jefferson police get high marks
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Two local police departments have gone through the necessary steps to show the public that they are committed to providing a high, standards-based level of service.

The Gainesville Police Department has neared the end of its national reaccreditation period with the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. The Jefferson Police Department has completed its certification process with the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police.

"We had an exit interview with (the assessment team) and that allows you to get a pretty good feel about where you are as a department. All three assessors stated that this was one of the best managed and operating law enforcement agencies that they individually have had the privilege to assess," Gainesville Police Chief Frank Hooper said.

The Gainesville department will find out the final status after the commission convenes next March in Texas to take a vote. The department was first accredited in 1991 and has gone through six subsequent renewals, which happens every three years.

"I think this lets our citizens know that we are operating by a set of industry standards that are recognized worldwide for law enforcement," Hooper said.

The state certification of the Jefferson department has been a long time coming. The department was certified in 2000, but failed to follow up with recertification, as is required every three years. According to Chief Joe Wirthman, when he came on board in 2006, the department was still uncertified.

Because of the lapse, the department had to start from the beginning.

After filing the necessary paperwork and being assessed by an independent team, Wirthman says the department’s certification has been approved by the state association.

"I was notified that we have received certification with four conditions. We were given 60 days to correct those four things and we’ve already completed three," Wirthman said.

According to Wirthman, the missing component is a threat assessment conducted by an outside party.

"We already have a (response) plan in place, we just have to identify where (vulnerable) locations are," he said. "We have until January to make the adjustments, but we should have everything done by the end of the month."