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Date: March 12, 2010

State park and natural area preserve officers receive state accreditation
~ Department of Conservation and Recreation first statewide agency accredited ~

RICHMOND – Conservation Officers with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation this week received accreditation from the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission. DCR joins several universities and the Capitol Police as one of only five state agencies with this certification. With 37 offices across the commonwealth DCR is the first Virginia agency with statewide coverage to be recognized by the commission. Virginia State Police are accredited by a national organization.

The VLEPSC considers state accreditation the best measure of an agency’s compliance with professional law enforcement standards. The commission consists of Virginia sheriffs and police chiefs selected for their expertise and knowledge. Accreditation increases the law enforcement agency’s ability to prevent and control crime through more effective and efficient delivery of law enforcement services to the community it serves. Approximately 80 law enforcement agencies, primarily local sheriffs and police departments, have earned this recognition.

The VLEPSC looks at 187 management standards as a part of their review. These range from handling of routine traffic citations to procedures for storing evidence. The agency must also prove compliance with each of the standards. A team of independent certified assessors from other law enforcement agencies review files, interview staff and inspect facilities to determine qualification for certification. The accreditation took DCR three years and is good for four years.

“Our law enforcement staff is to be commended for voluntarily embarking on this extensive and rigorous evaluation,” said DCR’s State Parks Director Joe Elton. “This massive effort was undertaken to ensure that Virginia State Parks continue to be safe places for the family to enjoy the outdoors.”

DCR has 108 conservation officers in 37 locations across the state. These officers have jurisdiction over 35 state parks and 61 natural area preserves.


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