The Ocean County Prosecutors Office has successfully complied with more than 100 standards and as a result received re-accreditation from the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police through its New Jersey Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission (NJSACOP).

“Receiving re-accreditation is no small task,” Ocean County Freeholder John Kelly, Director of Law and Public Safety, said. “This is an arduous process that looks at all of the actions taken by our top law enforcement agency. I join with my colleagues on the Board in congratulating Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer and his staff in successfully completing the steps necessary to gain re-accreditation."

Billhimer and members of his staff were presented with the Re-Accreditation from Accreditation Program Director Harry DelGado during the April 17 meeting of the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

“I couldn’t be more proud of this office,” Billhimer said. “We work as a team to uphold the standards we are governed by and ultimately it shows our commitment to perform at the highest level of excellence in our field. This Re-Accreditation exemplifies not just compliance but out willingness to go above and beyond in our efforts to protect and serve the citizens of Ocean County."

The NJSACOP says accreditation is a progressive and time-proven way of helping law enforcement agencies calculate and improve their overall performances.

The foundation of accreditation lies in the adoption of standards containing a clear statement of professional objectives.

Participating agencies conduct a thorough self-analysis to determine how existing operations can be adapted to meet these objectives.

“Accreditation results in greater accountability within the agency, reduced risk and liability exposure, increased community advocacy, and more confidence in the agency’s ability to operate efficiently and respond to community needs,” Harry Delgado said. “Only 4 percent of the agencies that apply for a second re-accreditation get this far.”

Delgado said the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Digital Forensic Laboratory last year was awarded accreditation by the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation making it and its’ mobile forensic unit, the first non-federal digital forensic crime laboratory in the state of New Jersey and only county prosecutor run lab to be accredited.

Accreditation status represents a significant professional achievement, according to the Commission.

It acknowledges the implementation of policies and procedures that are conceptually sound and operationally effective.

Functions addressed by the standards include assessments of administration, personnel, operations, investigations and other functions.

The Commission continues to review the standards following accreditation for three years.

“The accreditation assessment team is composed of law enforcement practitioners from similar New Jersey law enforcement agencies,” said Delgado. “The assessors review written materials, interview agency members and visit offices and other places where compliance with the standards can be observed. Once the commission’s assessors complete their review of the agency, they report to the full Commission, which then decides if the agency is to be granted accredited status.”

The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office complied with 112 standards in order to receive re-accreditation.

“Our law enforcement agencies are hardworking and dedicated to protecting the citizens of Ocean County,” Ocean County Freeholder Director Virginia Haines said. “This re-accreditation highlights the diligent approach taken by Prosecutor Billhimer and his team to make certain we continue to meet national standards and remain committed to our citizens.”

The Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders recognized the work of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office during the April 17 Board meeting as they received the Re-Accreditation of the Prosecutor’s Office by the New Jersey Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission.

The Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders recognized the work of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office. (Donna Flynn, Ocean County Government)

Pictured from left to right are Ocean County Freeholder Gerry P. Little, Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer, First Assistant Michael Nolan, Freeholder John P. Kelly, Director of Law and Public Safety, Freeholder Director Virginia E. Haines, and Freeholders Gary Quinn and Joseph H. Vicari.