Ask any experienced CEO or Accreditation Manager what is the most difficult facet of becoming CALEA accredited and maintaining that status, and a high percentage of answers will include some form of getting the “buy-in” from the rank and file. This step is critical because CALEA accreditation is not just a job for the CEO and/or Accreditation Manager. Successful accreditation and reaccreditation requires an adjustment to the organizational mindset that will invariably affect the work habits of all employees.
A multi-vortex F-5 tornado unexpectedly ripped through my hometown of Joplin, Missouri on May 22, 2011. The tornado’s path of devastation and destruction began on the western edge of town and exited on the east side, tearing a massive hole through the heart of Joplin.
What does it mean to be a professional? Is policing a job or a profession? The label of profession is often applied to a set of specialized skills that are transferable through training and experience.
The Anne Arundel County, Maryland Police Department has been CALEA® accredited since July 1994, and it continually strives to improve upon its delivery of professional and efficient law enforcement services.
The Fall 2011 CALEA Conference at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado, was a rousing success with the Colorado Springs Police Department once again serving as the host agency with assistance from the Rocky Mountain Accreditation Network. The Host Committee Chairman, Sergeant Darrin Abbink, and Vice-Chairman, Lieutenant Scott Whittington, and the rest of the members did an outstanding job of making sure everyone had a productive and enjoyable conference.
The Clark County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) has been CALEA Law Enforcement Accredited since November 1986; becoming the first CALEA accredited sheriff's office on the western seaboard. Since then Clark County has been joined by many other west coast sheriff and police departments in achieving accreditation. In 2011 the CCSO received its eighth consecutive CALEA award. Sheriff Garry E. Lucas recently noted that the vast majority of CCSO employees have been hired since initial CALEA accreditation. “They have never known a time when our agency wasn't accredited,” he said.
Editorial Note: As a CALEA Partner, APCO International pens the Communications Open Channel column, which focuses on topics of interest to our clients, particularly those in the Public Safety Communications Accreditation Program.
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As indicated by CALEA, the purpose of its Accreditation Programs is “to improve the delivery of public safety services, primarily by: maintaining a body of standards, developed by public safety practitioners, covering a wide range of up-to-date public safety initiatives; establishing and administering an accreditation process; and recognizing professional excellence.” To complement its compliance with CALEA’s body of internationally accepted standards and to enhance its organizational performance, the Surprise, Arizona Police Department (SPD) is also innovatively applying internationa
“The Accreditation Process provides the best and the most credible roadmap for any law enforcement agency in pursuit of professional excellence. It will be the benchmark for policing in the twenty-first century.” Lafourche Parish (LA) Sheriff’s Office has been CALEA Accredited since 2000.
“CALEA Accreditation inspires public confidence in our agency, as well as assures that our department is up-to-date on police initiatives and administrative practices. Among the areas of particular importance addressed by CALEA, are the delivery of services to our citizens and the emphasis on inter-agency cooperation. CALEA provides a means of checks and balances that confirms the successful tactics we have in place.” Miami PD has been CALEA Accredited since 2003.
"The new two person on-site was fantastic. The interaction that occurred between the team and the community along with members of the agency made it easier for all to accept accreditation and to share what it meant to them. Accreditation makes it easier for the Sheriff's Office to provide better service to the citizens in our community."
"Through improved policies and procedures, both the police department and the Communications Division were better able to serve the community and its members. There is a trust between the community and the members of the department because we are responsive to them and the needs of the community. Standards mean trust."
"From start to finish, it's the change in process that is most obvious when working with CALEA. This change offers agencies the opportunity for improved transparency and delivery of services to the communities served. I would tell any chief that if he/she steps up to the table, the end result will be a better department for both members and citizens alike."
"CALEA Accreditation gave our personnel a focus and direction with specific and measurable goals. Self assessment is invaluable and on many occasions we found more efficient ways to discharge our duties, providing contemporary and professional law enforcement services."
"CALEA Accreditation has proven itself time and time again...and the respect and support generated within our community for our services have been positively impacted by the program, making us a truly professional agency."
“Accreditation helps us make our law enforcement management systems work smoothly. It assists us with developing our employees and provides police officers with a superior foundation and enables them to provide outstanding services to the community. I am proud of the men and women of the Avon Police Department for providing that superior level of service to our community.”
“The key to CALEA Accreditation is peer review of our policies, procedures and practices. This promotes professional excellence as we strive to be our very best. The process results in a total team effort that contributes positively to any agency’s effectiveness and ability to solve problems and deliver services. We have bought into this process since the early 1990’s and remain committed. I look forward to many years as a CALEA Accredited agency.”
"CALEA Accreditation has prompted the Corpus Christi (TX) Police Department to closely scrutinize the policies and procedures governing the way we do business. Many policies have been updated/altered/initiated because of the influence of CALEA. Working closely with the city Legal Department and the city Human Resources Department, we are confident that we can better withstand the scrutiny of lawsuits and grievances and at the same time offer our employees a fair and consistent work environment."
"The assessors did an excellent job of providing feedback to my agency on our performance. In today’s environment with an economic downturn this is not the time to think about giving up accreditation; it is even more important to retain accreditation as the CALEA process represents our roadway to professionalism."
"Although the CALEA process is institutionalized with my agency, we learn something about our agency each time we have a CALEA assessment. Our employees have an understanding of their duties that comes with adhering to standards over the years."
"I would not send my kids to a school or a hospital that was not accredited, and I think the citizens of Columbia County deserve the professional delivery of services by my office that is embodied by the CALEA standards."
"Had it not been for CALEA we would not have been as organized or able to adapt and respond to the floods. CALEA was responsible for enabling the Munster Police Department to respond. I hope agencies realize that in difficult times CALEA can be the lifeline."
"First and foremost, the standards represent what are considered to be good business practices for training academies. It is not a one-time temporary process. It is the way the agency has been and will continue to do business. A highly prized recognition of professionalism and excellence."
“With the CALEA-based blueprint in place, we now have a means to continually develop, review and adjust our efforts to meet the best practices and standards in the industry. We will continue to partner with CALEA and other accredited agencies to meet the dynamic changes of our profession and the needs of our growing community.”
"Our department has been in the accreditation business for over twenty-six years. While it was very challenging in the beginning, it has now become a part of our daily lives. Today, 93% of our officers and employees began their career with a nationally accredited department. Meeting the standards is no longer a challenge but an invitation for new ways to improve existing processes. We consider it an honor to be a long standing member of the CALEA family."
"The City of Keller, Texas residents approved a 15 Year Crime Control and Prevention Sales Tax dedicated to the Keller Police Department and one of the expenditure requirements was to continue to fund the CALEA Accreditation program. The taxpayers noted the improvements in the overall management and performance in their police department since the department received the initial award in 2006."
"When our agency was at a strategic inflection point, we first used CALEA Recognition and then Accreditation as the tool to turn things around. Simply, we had to change, and that change had to be significant and done in a timely fashion. We used the CALEA Standards to guide us as we made changes in practice, procedures and policies."
"Let me just briefly give you a broader municipal perspective of how we value and utilize our CALEA accredited status: CALEA Accreditation helps our risk management efforts and is an important part of our group insurance rating and, conversely, our costs. Being CALEA accredited also helps our bond rating. It is a rating we share with only 5% of cities in the United States. Moody’s loves CALEA Standards and so do our bond holders. Accreditation is an important part of our recruiting package for economic development; it makes a strong statement about our community and its values.