WARREN COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE
200 SKYLINE VISTA DRIVE, FRONT ROYAL, VIRGINIA 22630
Mark A. Butler, Sheriff
|PRESS RELEASE – WARREN COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE BECOMES STATE ACCREDITED|
On June 1st the Warren County Sheriff’s Office was officially certified as an Accredited Virginia Law Enforcement Agency. Sheriff Mark Butler acknowledged that accreditation has been one of his principal goals since being elected Sheriff in 2019. According to Sheriff Butler “the accreditation certification is the culmination of a lot of hard work by a lot of dedicated professionals in the Sheriff’s Office.”
Sheriff Butler stated that “during my first days on the job in 2019, we found operational records were not as they should be. Many of the policies had not been updated in over a decade, and most did not meet contemporary standards. The inherited budget was a maze of line items that could not be adequately tracked to determine where the money was previously spent. Equipment was broken or outdated, body cameras did not function, and some weapons systems dated back to the Vietnam era.”
After evaluating the situation, Sheriff Butler set out to regain the trust of the community, modernize antiquated policing methods, increasing collaborative community policing and engagement, focus on the drug issues within Warren County, and regain VLEPSC accreditation.
“In early 2020 we evaluated the entire office to ascertain our strengths and weaknesses. Then we began updated policies and procedures to meet or exceed professional standards in the Commonwealth of Virginia. This was extremely important. This became the foundation that our agency would rebuild on. Next, we updated our procedures defining the way we hired, trained, promoted, budgeted, and operated.”
Upon completing these initial tasks, the office went to work updating the methods of tracking all the updates mentioned above. This was also no easy task. We then modernized records management and accountability software and trained our workforce in its use. Once this was completed, we conducted a self-evaluation. As with anything new, there were opportunities to grow and improve, and the Sheriff’s Office embraced comments by the public in doing so. The revision process was completed within two years.
On February 6th, 2023, the Warren County Sheriff’s Office opened our doors to the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) for a professional audit. The Virginia DCJS informed us that it was their experience that few law enforcement agencies were able to regain accreditation in such a short span of time.
According to Sheriff Butler “our confidence was unwavering, and we submitted our application for accreditation, and the VLEPSC Assessment Team began reviewing our policies and procedures against State Standards, riding with and interviewing our deputies and staff, evaluating line inspections, conducting facility and vehicle inspections. The assessors conducted a comprehensive inspection of all aspects of the Warren County Sheriff’s Office, to include; Operations, Administration, Personnel, Training, Budgeting, Compensation Board compliance, Court Security, Civil Process, Court Holding, Investigations, Emergency Communications, School Resource Officers, Animal Control, Career Development and much more.”
Upon conclusion of the in-depth auditing, the VLEPSC Assessors informed Sheriff Butler that the Warren County Sheriff’s Office was outstanding. On June 1st, 2023 your Warren County Sheriff’s Office became the 103rd VLEPSC accredited law enforcement agency in the Commonwealth, out of 340 total agencies in Virginia.
While at the same time pursuing accreditation, your Sheriff’s Office concurrently worked toward another prestigious designation to improve service delivery to the county, pursuing the Certified Crime Prevention Community (CCPC) Program. Achieving this designation would be equally challenging. There are twelve core and an additional seven elective public safety elements that must be proven to meet established standards. One of which is becoming VLEPSC accredited.
On May 15th, 2023, the Warren County Sheriff’s Office submitted its application for review and has passed the initial peer review process by DCJS. According to Sheriff Butler “your Sheriff’s Office performance is being measured against established standards of the Commonwealth’s community policing program. To put this into perspective, many agencies say they perform community policing but only twelve agencies across Virginia were able to obtain this certification. We look forward to our panel hearing later this month!”
What does all this mean? According to the Sheriff, “anyone can say they are doing it correctly, but it is another story when a governing body evaluates you and tells the entire State that you are doing it correctly. This gives the once tarnished badge of the Warren County Sheriff’s Office back its shine. It tells the community that the Sheriff’s Office will always put the harder right over the easier wrong. Even when things do not go as expected or planned, the Sheriff’s Office holds all employees accountable for doing the right thing. It also brings a sense of safety, security, professionalism, and true transparency.”
In closing Sheriff Butler shared the following, “The Sheriff is not elected to ensure nothing bad ever happens. If this was the case Law Enforcement would not need to train and carry firearms or wear bullet proof vests. The Sheriff is elected to ensure events are professionally handled when they do occur. The Department of Criminal Justice Services has verified that the Warren County Sheriff’s Office does just that!”
Approved for release by Sheriff Mark Butler on June 6, 2023
UNCLASSIFIED | FOR PUBLIC RELEASE