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Schenectady County lockup is top tier

State Sheriff’s Association awards correctional facility accreditation

Schenectady County Sheriff Dominic Dagostino, center, is presented with a plaque by Peter Kehoe, executive director of the state Sheriff’s Association, after the county correctional facility received accreditation from the group.

Schenectady County Sheriff Dominic Dagostino, center, is presented with a plaque by Peter Kehoe, executive director of the state Sheriff’s Association, after the county correctional facility received accreditation from the group.

— The Schenectady County Correctional Facility was recently awarded the New York State Sheriff’s Association Accreditation, an honor held by less than half of jails statewide.

Peter Kehoe, executive director of the association, on Tuesday, Sept. 11, presented County Sheriff Dominic Dagostino with a plaque marking the accreditation. One hundred sixty-six standards are used to award the accreditation, of which successful facilities must meet 80 percent. Accredited facilities must reapply every five years.

“Essentially, becoming an accredited facility says you are the best of the best,” County Jail Superintendent James Barrett said. “It strongly increases the level of training for your staff. When you increase the training, it certainly increases the level of professionalism that provides.”

A beneficial aspect of accreditation is it provides the county with a strong legal foundation if lawsuits are filed involving the jail, Kehoe said. Other benefits include improving operations and performance, increasing employee moral and a possible reduction in lawsuits and insurance costs, according to Kehoe.

The title is good for “bragging rights,” too, he said.

“This is no easy accomplishment,” Kehoe said. “It is clear you have a Sheriff’s Office and a sheriff that are pursuing excellence in their profession and they deserve to be applauded for it.”

Also, it sends a message to the community regarding the high standards of the facility.

“I hope the impact on the people on the community is that we are trained professionals and there is a certain level of expectation we are being held to now,” Barrett said.

Kehoe praised correctional employees for their work, which is normally outside of the public’s view.

“Corrections officers are the unsung hero of the law enforcement system,” Kehoe said. “They spend a large part of their lives behind bars locked up with some of the worst people in our society. They keep us safe from those people, but they must also keep those people safe from each other.”

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