The Cherokee County School District Police Department has earned State recognition!
The Department was notified this month that its status as a Certified Agency, first achieved in 2006, has been renewed by the Joint Review Committee of the State of Georgia Law Enforcement Certification Program.
This is the highest level of State accreditation that local law enforcement agencies can earn, and it is rare for school police departments to complete the required rigorous review. CCSD’s Department, which is led by Chief Buster Cushing, is one of only five school police departments in the State to hold this certification.
“We know that our CCSD Police Department is the best in the world, and we’re so proud of Chief Cushing and his force for earning this well-deserved recognition of the dedication they show daily to our community as a whole,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said. “They put themselves in harm’s way every day, and as a part of our educational organization, our officers also take on the role of providing valuable safety information to our students, their parents and our staff. We support our officers, we thank our officers, and we congratulate our officers!”
CCSD’s police officers all are Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Council certified and additionally have been deputized by the Cherokee County Sheriff. These officers not only protect and serve the students, staff and visitors at CCSD schools and special events, but the Department also oversees CCSD’s safety and emergency response planning, employee and volunteer background checks, and administrative and criminal investigations, among its many roles.
The Certification Program provides a comprehensive blueprint for effective and professional law enforcement, and recertification is required every three years to maintain this accreditation.
“This accomplishment establishes the Cherokee County School District Police Department as one of the top agencies in Georgia,” said A.A. “Butch” Ayers, executive director of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police, noting that certified police departments are “role models” for all others. “You can clearly be proud of this achievement. State Certification is neither easy, nor simple. In fact, achieving State Certification requires a great deal of effort and commitment to a complex task, which requires compliance with a solid and complete set of policies that cover all the areas found in the standards.”
As part of the recertification process, trained State assessors conduct a two-day comprehensive on-site assessment, which was held in April for the CCSD Police Department. The Department's policies and performance and supporting documents were closely reviewed to verify that all applicable standards have been implemented and sustained. CCSD School Police Officer Mike Dames serves as the Department’s certification manager. As part of this role, he maintains required records to ensure a complete annual policy review and to successfully demonstrate the Department's continued compliance. The Joint Review Committee then met earlier this month to review the assessment report and approved the recertification.
“This recognition honors the dedication of every member of our Department and our shared commitment to professional excellence,” Chief Cushing said. “I am grateful for all that they do every day to serve our schools and greater community in a fair, professional and respectful manner. It is an honor to lead our Department and serve alongside them.”
Chief Cushing and his Department will be recognized by the Cherokee County School Board and Superintendent of Schools at its September meeting.