On any given day Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden said the staff of his office works to maintain the highest levels of professionalism and efficiency while doing their job. That belief is now being thoroughly tested while applying for accreditation with the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Incorporated (CALEA).
The current process is for the department’s law enforcement division. According to information on the department’s website by going through the process, “the Law Enforcement Division is able to evaluate its operations against nationally accepted standards of practice, and continuously upgrade the division’s performance.”
As part of the accreditation a public hearing was held giving the chance for people to endorse or oppose the department’s efforts. The hearing lasted just 10 minutes and while there was positive feedback from members of the department and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office there was one objector.
The objection came from Ruben Scolavino who is opposing Sheriff Golden in the November elections. During his presentation Scolavino said he believed there were, “substantial issues the commission should address,” with the department particularly with regards to pension double dipping. “We believe the current administration is making its best way to allow that to continue,” he said.
Scolavino said he believed there had been a state investigation into the matter and that the commission should know the results of that investigation before going forward with the accreditation and “really see what’s going on in terms of personnel administration.”
After the meeting Scolavino said he was there to “make sure that this is not a rubber stamp.” He added, “If you’re from different states you may not know what is going on in this county.” While agreeing it was important for the department to be accredited, he said, “I think it should be accredited under the right circumstance.”
Sheriff Golden was not at the hearing on Monday night, but said, “It’s disappointing to see my opponent bring politics into a law enforcement accreditation proceedings.” He added, “this is a proess that has solely to do with law enforcement accreditation and I won’t let it disparage the great men and women I have working in the law enforcement division.”
Accreditation occurs every three years but Golden said reaching that goal is a daily part of the job for the officers and civilians working in his department. He said the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Department is one of 230 across the country out of 3000 that have received three stars for accreditation for corrections, law enforcement and communication.
The fact that the department is so well regarded, he said, is a tribute to the people working on a daily basis. “It brings to light any deficiency in policy that you may have,” he said of the process. “All your policies and procedures are under review.”
Golden said he was proud of the high standard of work his department exhibits. “It gives you a good review every three years, but every year we have to put proofs in the file and update our policies accordingly,” he said. “The entire staff has input and then they have an understanding and execution. That’s just in the checks that really go along.”
Being so diligent, he said, “leads to fewer mistakes and leads to integrity of whatever process it is.”
The sheriff said he expected to hear the final results of the application in the next few months.