The Salem City Sheriff's Office is now among an elite group of law enforcement agencies having earned accreditation through the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission (VLEPSC). Of the more than 360 law enforcement agencies in Virginia, only 95 of them have achieved this distinction. Also, the City of Salem is the first City in Virginia to have both of their law enforcement agencies, Sheriff's Office and Police Department, accredited through VLEPSC. The Office was initially accredited in February 2005. In February 2009 a milestone was reached when the Salem City Sheriff's Office was re-accredited after having accomplished a perfect score during the on-site assessment phase. The Office has since been re-accredited in 2017 and 2021.
Accreditation is considered the ultimate measure of professionalism among law enforcement agencies. The Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission is governed by an executive board composed of six Sheriff's selected by the Virginia Sheriff's Association and six Chief's selected by the Virginia Association of Chief's of Police. The program of accreditation promulgates a comprehensive set of standards that require compliance with over 700 points of professional practice. The standards are recognized as a "best practices" protocol for any law enforcement agency. In providing the accreditation program, the Commission's goals are:
- To promote public confidence in law enforcement and consistency in its application.
- To promote cooperation among agencies.
- To ensure proper training for law enforcement personnel.
- To increase the effectiveness and efficiency of services provided by law enforcement.
Accreditation sets the standards by which an agency must continue to operate in order to retain this highly coveted status. These professional standards must become a routine way of conducting Sheriff's Office business. There are on-going reviews, with re-accreditation scheduled every four years.