Leader: Orangeburg DPS Reaches “Gold Standard”; department reaccredited by CALEA | Local

The Orangeburg Public Safety Department was reaccredited for another three years.

The Law Enforcement Agencies Accreditation Commission says the department has met the “gold standard” for public safety agencies, according to Acting ODPS Chief Charles Austin.

“I think that says a lot about this agency, this city,” he said.

Austin discussed the achievement with the Orangeburg City Council Tuesday at the body’s regular meeting.

Austin thanked the city and ODPS staff for the work they have done.

“They are indicative of the level of commitment we receive on a daily basis to go above and beyond to ensure that we provide quality services to our community,” he said.

“CALEA accreditation is an ongoing process and serves as the foundation for a successful, well-run, transparent and community-focused public safety agency,” Austin told the board, reading the recognition. “To this end, an agency must maintain its accredited status by remaining in compliance with CALEA standards at all times.

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Austin said that means, “every day, 24/7, 365 days a year, our goal is to make sure we represent this city at the highest level.”

Orangeburg Mayor Michael Butler said, “We want to accept this accreditation by our Public Safety Department with pride and joy.

He thanked the people in the department for “keeping us safe every day.”

CALEA re-accredits the law enforcement division of the ODPS. The ODPS fire division is accredited separately.

Evaluators review records and interview agency staff and community members. They review 458 compliance standards.

According to CALEA, the accreditation process provides objective evidence of an organization’s commitment to excellence in leadership, resource management and service delivery.

The ODPS became CALEA accredited in 2003 after several years of preparation. The agency is required to pass the intensive inspection every three years to maintain its accreditation.

City Administrator Sidney Evering thanked ODPS employees for their service to the city.

• Marc Wood of Sheheen, Hancock & Godwin said the town had received around 38% of its projected revenue through March. This is below the optimal amount of 50%, as the city is about halfway through its fiscal year.

“Fire contracts came out late so I expect April and May to be more on budget revenue,” Wood said.

Wood said the city’s spending is about in line with what it should be, as the city has achieved about 54% of its budgeted spending.

Wood said the city received about $9 million in revenue and about $12.4 million in expenses.

“The main reason the expense is higher is that we’ve already spent the money on the fire trucks that we’re going to capital lease on,” Wood said. “Once this capital lease closes by the end of this month or June 1, we will have recovered approximately $2.9 million of that money.”

“I just didn’t want you all to be alarmed when you saw the negative number on the income statement,” Wood continued.

“The income will come. It’s just a time difference. We had to pay the fire trucks but the funding, we haven’t got the money back yet,” he said.

Wood said that would leave the city about $600,000 in the red, but he says much of that shortfall is due to the city’s fire contracts being performed late.

“There has been a delay in the execution of the fire contracts,” Evering said. “We changed software, changed systems, so there was a delay there, but the fire contracts have been out and collections have been coming in since April.” $1 for the first 26 weeks

Wood said the April report is expected to show a reduction in the city’s deficit of $600,000.

Wood said he would provide a monthly report going forward.

Councilman Jerry Hannah asked the city council to see the reports early so members can review them.

Councilman Bernard Haire asked where the city is in the process of hiring a finance manager. Evering said he would discuss the matter in executive session since it is a personnel matter.

Haire asked if that means the city council will have to wait a few more weeks before the issue can be put on the agenda. Evering said he would be happy to personally discuss the matter with Haire.

• Council voted unanimously to cancel its regular July 5 and July 19 meetings due to budget workshops.

• Council tabled a resolution recognizing June 19 (June 19) as an official city holiday. The file was filed to better determine the financial impact of the holiday on the City’s operations.

Juneteenth National Independence Day is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. June 19 was declared a federal holiday last year.

• Council received for information the DPU budget calendar for the 2022-2023 fiscal year.

The Board will hold a Goal Setting Retreat with DPU from 9 a.m. to noon on Thursday, May 12 and a Budget Workshop from 9 a.m. to noon on Thursday, June 16. Both meetings will take place at the municipal gymnasium.

The first reading of the budget will take place on August 2, the second reading and public hearing on August 16 and the third and final reading on September 6. The city’s fiscal year begins October 1.

• The Council recognized honesty as the community character trait for the month of May and asked all residents of Orangeburg to instill this trait in their lives.


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