Press Release

Press Release – Warren County Sheriff’s Office becomes State Accredited



Mark A. But­ler, Sher­iff


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