social work

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The Role Of A Sheriffs Department Social Work Essay

The sheriff is an elected county official; therefore deputies and those who work for the department tend to have a closer relationship with the citizens in that particular city. According to LaFrance and Placide (2009), article on the different leadership styles of police and sheriff, most of the time, Sheriffs have risen through the ranks of the sheriff’s office over time before running for election therefore they are place-bound. Because they are elected, they might feel more of an obligation to remain at their posts even when there is an adversarial relationship with the county and its board.

Rowan D. Williams states that “Bad human communication leaves us less room to grow”, well I grew from this internship with the sheriff’s office. They were willing to let me witness and be a part of any call that would not put my life in any danger. They answered all questions and allowed me to participate and experience the procedure of filling out paper work. The internship with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office was everything I expected an internship to be. I went into this internship with an open mind willing to learn and observe as much as possible, regardless of the warnings that it was more cows and horses then people. Expecting to do a variety of things which would not only give me a paper to write but also an idea of what I wanted to do with my criminal justice degree. All of my personal learning objectives were answered. If the individual I was with at the time could not answer a question, then I was directed to the persons who could. Interning with the Cherokee County Sheriff Department was a very enlightening experience making me more aware of what my life’s goals were and were not. I gained a lot of firsthand experience and was able to network with a lot amazing individuals. From the observations I made while interning with such informative individuals gave me new respect for the manner in which the legal process is reviewed.

I started my internship as the ride along and the shift was 6:00am-6:00pm, however the deputies’ shift started at 5:45am. The overlap help the deputies who were about to punch out get off sooner. Roll call is held every morning. This is where the deputies receive any information from the night crew or any policies and procedures which changed while they were off. They inspect their weapons, cars, and any other device which may hinder them from doing their job. After the roll call, the supervisor at each precinct briefed the deputies on what was going on within their zone and who I would be riding with. Then the deputies would disperse and began zoning or patrolling.

Stan Crowder

The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office runs their agency with high standards. Deputy Hackard describes the sheriff’s department as aiming to be “Triple Crown” holder with its accreditations. The training which every deputy participates in prepares the deputy for his job and also their partners’ job. This agency goes beyond all requirements for accreditation. Cherokee County, which was the first agency in Georgia to have accreditation through The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), is also Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certified and Georgia certified. Each certification holds its own purpose within the agency’s policy and procedures. The agency builds its policy and procedures around the standards and requirements of CALEA and POST. The agency has not yet received accreditation from American Correctional Association (ACA); however they have standards similar to those that are already required. This agency strives to maintain and go beyond all standards to set itself apart from the rest as it relates to its citizens. Constantly being in training helps the department establish a mind, within the deputies, able to critically examine situations in different scenarios. Wesley Phillips and Darrell Norman write in their article that by engaging in critical thinking, law enforcement professionals should create multiple solutions to problems by constantly questioning and challenging their strengths, and examining decision-making preferences and practices (2009). The training which is required by the agency also helps the deputies help each other in their job.

Even though the agency is certified through other programs the two which really have a large impact on how the department will conduct business are POST and CALEA. POST is an essential asset to the Cherokee Sheriff’s office. It is a program which basically trains the department on gun usage and ethics that are mandatory and every agency in Georgia must be certified in. Even though CALEA is not mandatory, it does so much more for an agency. According to the department’s website having this form of accreditation strengthen an agency’s accountability, both within the agency and within the community. However, with CALEA it is more of a standard and rules. This accreditation is not mandatory and more than a few agencies in Georgia do not have this accreditation within the department. There are two reasons why many agencies do not have; money or man power. Cherokee’s Sheriff Office possesses an extremely hardworking and serious group of individuals whose job is to be quite knowledgeable about CALEA and assist in them maintaining their accreditation.

Another difference between the major two accreditations, POST and CALEA, is the process. With CALEA the deputies sit in classes and learn. They become aware of the policies and procedures to handle different scenarios. They also learn different ethical choices to make. Again CALEA is not mandatory but it does say a lot about an agency. Cherokee was the first agency in the state of Georgia to be accredited through CALEA. The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies set the procedures and standards on things such as how to hand cuff or searches and seizures an individual correctly to how to write out reports. POST is a different entity in itself. To maintain your certification through POST you must go through training once a year, however Cherokee requires their deputies to go through training twice a year. According to the sheriff’s department website, they require each officer to secure 45 hours of P.O.S.T. approved training during the calendar year. Everything the agency does to improve the department, exceeds the minimum. P.O.S.T. only requires 25 hours to retain.

Every deputy in the state of Georgia must be POST certified to even carry a firearm. Peace Officer Standards and Training classes usually last about twelve to thirteen weeks. Officers who finish then become fully sworn officers after they complete. Deputies also receive ethical training here as well. They go through a variety of academies and courses. Cherokee County maintains their accreditation by doing the following: “The office coordinates scheduling of personnel attendance at state and local training facilities, provides in-service training and monitors number of hours personnel receive annually to assure minimum requirements of the P.O.S.T. Council and the Sheriff's Office are met.” Being in law enforcement requires a lot of paper work, but the training the deputies receive prepare and train them in filling out all paper work.

When it comes to maintaining their accreditation, Cherokee County Sheriff’s department exceeds the requirements. The deputies must re-qualify with their firearms every year and the minimum score is eighty percent. They must have forty hours of training which is more then what CALEA requires. The department also leaves the option to sign up for more class if the deputies would like. The department goes beyond its requirements for the protection of the agency. If something was to happen on behalf of one their employees not following protocol then the agency would be able to show that they provided training to that individual to make the right choices. I feel that the training and certifications are used by the department to be able to distance itself from law suits and unnecessary court involvement.

Cold cases in the Cherokee County Sheriff’s department are reviewed annually. Cold cases come about when there is not enough information to bring the case to a closing. These are crimes or an accident that has not yet been solved fully and is not the subject of a recent criminal investigation. Only the serious crimes fall under cold cases if they are not solved. However some serious crimes have statues of limitations, such as rape. Rape is only a cold case for seven years. Homicide and murder do not have any statues of limitations they can be reopen at any time. However, if there is not a perpetrator then there is not case and no case means another cold case.

The only way the case can be reopen is with new information or with new witness testimony. In order for the deputy to get a warrant they only need probable cause however the district attorney needs beyond a reasonable doubt to win the case. So if the sheriff never gets the warrant because there is not enough evidence then the district attorney never gets the file and the case becomes cold. The investigators re-examined archives and retained material evidence, as well as fresh activities of the suspect to reopen the case. “Conduct of crime investigation and detection work has undergone significant and deep reform in recent year. In large part this is attributable to significant advances that have been made across the forensic sciences, especially in respect to the rapidly accelerating capacity to locate, collect, and analyze genetic materials” this is why the sheriff’s department is now able to reopen and solve more cases than in previous years (Innes and Clarke, 2009). In order to reopen a case there must be new information.

Cherokee county has a variety of cultures with the county line. The deputies come in contact with language barriers and culture differences. You have the huge Hispanic community and then you have the white and black communities. The training which the deputies receive is more of an ethical training. Standards for ethical training are set by The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. Then the department adds onto the standards set by CALEA. They do not receive any training on how to speak to the Hispanic community, however there are Spanish speaking individuals who work for the department. The department also now makes sure that every shift has an individual who is fluent in Spanish working with them. Some of the deputies I spoke with even said that they experienced a culture shock. That they were not prepared for the culture and community they now had to provide service to. The department does not offer any form of skill training to prepare their deputies for the diversity within the county. Heather Wyatt-Nichol and George Franks (2009) found in their article that “Many professionals and organizations in the law enforcement community hold that ethics training bridges the gap between written policies and actual behavior by introducing or reinforcing rules and expectations of behavior. Ethics instruction exposes officers to ethical dilemmas and scenarios through training prior to “hitting the streets” or moving up in rank.” The ethical training is what keeps Cherokee County deputies grounded and professional. How the culture differences in the county also play a major role in the composition of the adult detention center inmates as well.

Jennifer McMahon-Howard

The adult detention center system in Cherokee is very small compared to other adult detention center systems. With over 544 inmates, there are eight housing pods in the adult detention center and fourteen inmates on each floor. There are both females and males in the adult detention center. The gender composition of the adult detention center is about 86.21% male and 13.79% female. Out of the male’s percentage the racial compositions is 66.10% white, 19.19% black, 14.50% Hispanic, and 0.21% other. The female composition is racially divided with 81.33% being white, 16.00% black, 2.67% Hispanic, and 0.00% other. The racial composition of the adult detention center is a reflection of the county. In the 2009 Census, Cherokee County population was composed of 81.1% white, 6.2% black, 9.4% Hispanic, and 3.3% other. If majority of the county is of the white race than the majority of the composition of the adult detention center will be of the white race. With composition of the adult detention center being so drastic officers have to be fully aware of their environment.

Victims in Cherokee County are treated like victims regardless if they are legal or illegal. The department offers different services with help line numbers to the victims of crimes. One of the services they provide to victims of family violence is The Cherokee Family Violence Center (CFVC). The information for their services comes on a small business card, which deputies are able to hand out if there is a victim. The business card list contact information as well information on how to handle a case of family violence. CFVC is an emergency shelter which provides a 24 hour crisis hotline. They also have other valuable services such as therapy for children and they even serve as a legal advocacy. CFVC has even taking their service to the next step by making their services available to Hispanics. Cherokee County also has a program where they keep the victim inform of the whereabouts of the offenders, The Cherokee County Victim-Witness Assistance Program.

The program is called Victim Information & Notification Everyday (VINE). These program uses computer technology and the telephone system to provide offender custody information 24 hours a day. The system provides the custody status to the victim, including arrest, release, and transfer information. The victim is known only by a pin number. The deputies participate in different activities prepare them for these kind of events; the deputies never know what they are about walk into when called out to domestic dispute. The training which the department provides to its deputies is very necessary it prepares them for different situations, including victims which may be undocumented or illegal. There is not a police written on how to handle a victim, so many of the deputies rely on their discretion, training, and ethical values. When dealing with any victim along with the policies set forth by the department, the training received plays a role as well. On the department’s website it states that “CALEA Accreditation facilitates an agency's pursuit of professional excellence”, so the deputies are always presenting and representing the department in a manner which is very professional.

Cherokee Sheriff’s Department receives training in classes on ethics to get them prepared for the victims who may be here illegally or those of a different culture. In Kenneth Dowlera and Raymond Sparks (2008) article, on the relationship between law enforcement and victims, states that “victims might have direct contact with police by reporting their victimization, although some victims choose not to report the crime. Thus the attitudes of some crime victims toward police might be influenced by the quality of their contact with police.” The way that deputies and the department present themselves to victims of crime must be professional. This is the only way to build a relationship with the undocumented victims or those of a different culture.

One of the deputies stated that sometimes it is difficult to get across to a victim “that you are there to help them” because they are scared. He went on to say that in many Mexican areas the police are corrupt so there is not a victim-police relationship. Jennifer Chacón states that “unauthorized peoples are more vulnerable to threats because they [perpetrators] know that efforts to seek legal recourse can results in protracted immigration detention, criminal prosecution, and, of course removal.”, the deputies of Cherokee County believe that any person, regardless of their citizenship, is a victim if a crime has being committed against them, before they are an illegal. So they use their discretion and to maintain a healthy relationship with the victims of crimes.

Ella Ballard

Discretion is defined by Terenceas Daintith as “a legally constituted power of decision. It is a staple element in both administrative and contractual arrangements, but whereas its judicial control provides the core of administrative law, it is hardly even acknowledged as an issue in the standard authorities on contract” (2005). Discretion can be found in an officer’s decision to use a legal sanction. That is, an officer exercises discretion in whether to stop a traffic offender, to give a ticket, or to make an arrest. Some police officers operate in an environment where they are frequently alone in their contacts with citizens causing them to move expeditiously to diffuse situations. Each officer is different and may have pet peeves about certain violations whether in the community or while in confinement, community perceptions are important because the department wants the majority of the community to be supportive. However, officers that work more from emotions rather than factual representation tend to abuse the use of discretion. In communities where the officers knew the people in community the violations may be dealt with differently because they are familiar those individuals. The perception of the offense to the officer is what influences the treatment of the party involved. The use of discretion can be closely related to how the officers worked with one another, being that they spend a significant amount of time on cases together causes them to seek peer advice.

An officer influence on discretions can derive from many elements. When the nature of the crime has a child involve the deputy may tend to be more aggressive toward the alleged criminal, especially if they have a child of their own. Another major element is the department policy. If the department makes it a policy that everyone who is stopped in a traffic stop gets a ticket then that is what the officer must follow. In Cherokee County, the sheriff has made it where no one gets a ticket driving over 10 mile per hour. Scott Phillips (2008) makes a point in his article about the use of discretions when he states, “Officers use discretion in traffic-stop decisions, but many state legislatures now require departments to gather traffic-stop data to study and potentially deter racial profiling”. Many agencies make it very difficult for deputies to use their own discretion, especially since profiling can become an issue.

The organizational structure of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office is decentralized. Before the decentralized structure the department was centralized. The structure of the agency is very important because it dictates who report to whom and it also determines the response time. In the decentralized structure everything goes through a chain of individual before it comes to the desk of Sheriff Garrison. The captain runs just the shift in the decentralized structure. This includes all precincts. Each shift has one captain, so it is more work for the captain in the decentralized structure. In the centralized structure the captain ran just the precinct. Every deputy in that precinct would report to that captain. With the centralized structure everyone was on one page and was able to know what was going on in the precinct at the beginning of each shift because they were being ran by one person. With the decentralized structure each shift is ran differently and the adjustment from one shift to another is difficult.

Each organizational structure works, however majority of the individual I spoke with thought that the centralized structure worked better for the agency. At the top of the organizational chart is Sheriff Garrison and at the bottom of the chart is the detention center’s Chaplin. Before you get to the sheriff, there is Chief Vic West and the special operations unit. Beside the special operations units are also the individual over the accreditation and certification. Special operations, which is ran by Captain Satterfield, and Headquarters Operation, ran by Captain Martin, works together and very closely with each other. Underneath training and accreditation are adult detention center operations, uniform patrol operations, investigative operations, and emergency management.

The agency’s organizational structure has many departments to maintain. I was assigned to the training department, but I got to speed majority of my time with the patrol unit. From the patrol unit, I spent some time within the detention center and then the courts. The time spent in the detention center was the worse for me, however there I got to visit the other departments of the agency. Within the agency you have the S.W.A.T unit, V.I.P.E.R, CID, K-9, the GCIC, patrol, and intelligence; only to name a few. V.I.P.E.R, which is acronym for Violent Incident Pro-active Enforcement Response, targets high crime areas in Cherokee. They are in conjunction with SWAT, CMANS (narcotics unit), and the gang unit. Their main purpose is to reduce criminal activities and certain areas. They also assist other units in the agency. CID is the agency investigation division. They investigate all crimes after the report has being made by the deputies. S.W.A.T is the department’s most prestige unit. The unit trains on a daily bases and also participate in different mock rescue drills. The agency’s website states that, “all team members are required to pass a rigorous physical fitness test and demonstrate elevated shooting skills with a variety of specialized weapons”. There are currently ten members, however there is only one lady apart S.W.A.T. Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office has so many different units, but it training unit is what prepare the deputies for those situations where their life depend on it.

Before the start of my internship with this agency, I spoke with a gentleman by the name of Captain Joe Satterfield. He explained to me all the intern’s duties and responsibilities and gave me the forms in which I needed to fill out. Captain Satterfield appeared to b very straight forward, and from the tone in his voice it appeared he really enjoyed what he does. I later learned that the emotions I experienced during my time with Captain Satterfield were feelings I would feel with everyone in the department I came in contact with.

Captain Satterfield began his career in law enforcement 19 years ago when he was the age of 22 years old. He chose this career because he felt like it was an exciting way of living and that seemed like something fun to do. Before he started his career he attended Abraham Baldwin College. There he received his associate’s degree in criminal justice and a technical degree in law enforcement. Once Captain Satterfield got a job with Cherokee he received a scholarship to further his education. The scholarship came through the department from Reinhardt College. Satterfield received his bachelor’s degree in history and he also graduated magna cum laude. After graduating he enrolled into Columbus State’s graduate program, where he received his master's degree in public administration.

Satterfield has had a great impact on the Cherokee Sheriff’s Department. His career path started with him being in the adult detention center for about a year, every deputy starts in the adult detention center. From the adult detention center he moved very quickly to the uniform patrol unit, where he stayed for about eight and half years. Mr. Satterfield was promoted to sergeant then to lieutenant with that division. He was then to the training division where he remained for eight years. Currently Captain Satterfield is the commander over all of the following units; S.W.A.T., K-9, negotiation and biking. However, out all the position Satterfield has being over, he felt like training was the position which made the greatest impact to the department. He stated that the decision he made about training not only made an impact on the deputies but also the mannerism they would approach different situations. Training goes a long way especially when it is done the right way.

Captain Satterfield is happy where within his career. He states that he would not change anything or do anything differently. He went on to explain the key to keeping family life separate from work life. Satterfield explained to always be focus on what you are doing and be able to commit to that situation. He explains that everyone will come to that point in their career where it is a challenge to maintain the family and work, but you must stay focused. The person has to approach the situation in the right manner. When you are talking to your child you are a parent; you are not the drill instructor from training anymore. Satterfield does not have any plans on running for the Sheriff of Cherokee County. As I conversed with Captain Satterfield I acquired that he feels like he has a greater interest in law enforcement and being Sheriff will not give him that hands on experience he likes. During our conversation I asked him if he could briefly describe himself in five powerful words in which he chose the following words; leader, disciplinary, manager, professional, and inspirational.

If I had to describe my internship to another student while trying to sell them the experience which I have had, I would begin with get plenty of rest. There is land and more land, with plenty of cows and farms. I would go on to explain that the individual are very in tune with their career and down to earth. The individual of Cherokee are kind and love talking. There are a few deputies who must break the ice with before you began to ask questions. I would then inform them of the many houses which they would see form the ride-along. Be prepare to eat too because the deputies love to eat. Ask plenty of questions as well. There is so much to be learned at this internship, but you have to ask first. The internship is very similar to a job with the sheriff’s department. The internship starts in the am and ends in the pm. It is a 12 hour shift but if there is nothing really to do then you can always work on school work. An internship with a sheriff’s department will allow you to experience everything within the county. The internship is not like one with the Drug Enforcement Agency or Marietta Police Department; however, it is one that you will always remember.

Interning with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office was one of the greatest experiences of my life. The officers I worked with gave me the opportunity to participate in all of the excitement that the sheriff’s office has to offer; they were more than willing to teach, explain, and support me throughout the entirety of my internship. This experience has helped strengthened my career preparation for this field of work within law enforcement. Doing an internship really helps you gain a unique perspective into the world of law enforcement. I now look at some of the problems many young individual have with law enforcement and I am able to evaluate the problem to come to an answer.

I have learned a lot of skills that will help me gain a career with a local law enforcement agency; minor the physical agility test. Some of the skills that I have learned this year include the dispatch codes, filling out paper work, and different policies and procedures. Along with these skills I also was able to gain an appreciation for the work that the law enforcement does. I feel as though I have learned more about the criminal justice system and the way it functions. From interning the schedule which the deputies work, 12 hour shifts, I was able to see and sometimes feel the strain of the job. I also helped fill out citations and enter the report in on file. Everything must have a paper trail when it comes to law enforcement. If it is not written down then it does not exist.

I notice from looking at how evidence is handled that, even though it is a lot of paperwork, the paper helps protect the deputy and the department. Every hand that touches the evidence must sign it, therefore to where the evidence has been and how it got there. I also learned valuable lessons just from talking to different people through this internship; wisdom goes a long way. They held nothing back and I felt as though they were straight forward when answering any of my questions. Deputy McElroy gave me the chance to experience everything from riding with the officers to sitting with them in the court rooms. I now also have a better understanding of what the sheriff department means to a county and it citizens.

While I have learned a lot in my four years of Criminal Justice classes between Augusta State and Kennesaw State, I do not believe anything can really compare to what I learned during my time as an intern with the sheriff’s office. College course can provide us with the different facts and figures on the crime rate and the victimization rate. A teacher can give the class a hypothetical situation to be analyzed and create a solution. All of these different in class situations are usually observed and felt by others. To actually participate in these real life situations has a learning value above and beyond any typical classroom made of strictly course work. I would strongly recommend the Cherokee County Sheriff Office internship to the next student. Participating in an internship gave me an idea of what to expect to a certain degree in the area of law enforcement, along with a vast number of general skills.

I have gained an appreciation for the knowledge obtained through communication with the deputies. I was able to network and establish professional relationships, which will assist me in whichever path of law enforcement I choose to pursue. I feel privileged for being able to fulfill the opportunity I received to work with the men and women at the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office. My internship experiences have been worthwhile and very instrumental to my future plans as an individual in law enforcement. I will continuously build onto the amount of knowledge that I have obtained from this internship. The field of law enforcement can be difficult as one of the deputies stated, but I was afforded a good start with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office.


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