Good work at the sheriff’s office

Published 9:42 pm Tuesday, February 28, 2017

E.C. Harris, who was promoted to sheriff this year upon the retirement of longtime Suffolk Sheriff Raleigh H. Isaacs Sr., has been doing some good things in his first couple of months in the new position.

Harris has been a visible public servant during that time, making himself available for various community-oriented events, such as the Blues Brothers Bash at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts on Saturday, where he played the part of a law enforcement officer keeping the peace among scores of folks dressed as the iconic Blues Brothers.

Harris said Saturday that he wants people to know that the sheriff’s office is not just a law enforcement agency in Suffolk, but also a staunch supporter of the things, like the arts, that make Suffolk special.

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But one of the most important things Harris is doing in his new position is aimed directly at improving the standing of his own agency, and it will mean a great deal to the citizens of Suffolk when the effort finally bears fruit.

The Suffolk Sheriff’s Office has begun the process of seeking accreditation through the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission, Harris said last week. He believes the effort will ultimately create a better sheriff’s office.

The office is in the process of reviewing its standards and policies, Harris said. The goal is not only to make sure their policies follow best practices but also to make sure the policies closely align with other sheriff’s offices as well as the Suffolk Police Department.

“We’re trying to marry a lot of our policies and procedures with theirs,” Harris said of the police department, noting they work together every day on various emergency scenes and non-emergency efforts. “That’s one of the most important things, so there’s no guesswork.”

The effort is being carried out by existing staff members, and Harris has set an 18-month goal for it to be completed.

When the office is finished with the process, Harris and others hope they will have raised the already high level of professionalism among sheriff’s deputies to an even higher plane.

That’s good for Suffolk, and it’s a good sign that Harris was a fine choice to lead the office through the next election.