Steps in the Accreditation Process
There are five general phases or steps in the accreditation process:
- On-Site Assessment
- Commission Review and Decision
- Maintaining Compliance and Reaccreditation
The primary resource to explore accreditation and gather information is the CALEA website. It offers the opportunity to obtain a vast amount of information about CALEA's history, organization, and credentialing programs; search the client database for other agencies enrolled; or view/print fee schedules and other required enrollment documents. The website also contains archives of the monthly electronic newsletters, the CALEA E-Communique, and of the previous CALEA Update magazine; a compilation of AccreditationWorks! articles, which describe the impact of accreditation from CALEA clients' perspective; plus links to other research studies and resources.
Before enrolling in the program, any CALEA publication may be purchased through the online store. The standards manual for each program, combined with the CALEA Process and Programs Guide, presents the information and instruction to completely review CALEA programs.
CALEA staff is available to answer questions or provide general assistance. Interested agencies or individuals can also register to attend a CALEA conference. When an agency is ready to enter the process, it should complete the online Enrollment Package on the CALEA website, or contact CALEA.
Once an agency is enrolled in one of CALEA's programs, it enters self-assessment. Depending on the program, an agency has either 36 or 24 months from the date a CALEA representative signs the Accreditation Agreement to complete self-assessment and schedule an on-site assessment.
The agency proceeds with self-assessment by complying with applicable standards, developing proofs of compliance, and preparing for the on-site assessment. During this time, CALEA staff is available to provide guidance on the applicability of standards and attaining compliance.
Once the agency notifies CALEA of its completion of the self-assessment phase and its desire to schedule its initial on-site assessment, staff will schedule a date that is mutually agreeable. A team of CALEA-trained assessors visits the agency to determine compliance with standards, views agency operations, conducts a public information session, and reports its findings to the Commission for final determination of accreditation status.
Commission Review and Decision:
At each CALEA conference held three times a year, the Commission’s Review Committees conduct hearings, which are open for public attendance, regarding the agency’s compliance to applicable standards. Designated agency representatives are invited to participate in this review. If satisfied the agency has met all compliance requirements, the Commission awards accreditation for a three year period and is able to display the CALEA program's Mark of Excellence.
Maintaining Compliance and Reaccreditation:
During its three-year accreditation award cycle, the agency must maintain compliance with applicable standards, keep its proofs of compliance up-to-date, and live by the letter and spirit of those standards. To retain its accredited status, the agency is required to submit to CALEA their appropriate accreditation continuation fees, as well as an annual report. Reaccreditation occurs at the end of the three years, following another successful on-site assessment and hearing before the Commission.