HISTORY AND BENEFITS OF ACCREDITATION
The Law Enforcement Accreditation Program was the first credentialing program established by CALEA, The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, after its formation in 1979. CALEA was created by the International Chiefs of Police, National Sheriff’s Association, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, and Police Executive Research Forum. It was initially developed to address what was seen as a need to enhance law enforcement as a profession and to improve law enforcement service delivery. That mission continues today through a tiered law enforcement accreditation program.
The Accreditation process has historically been a three year process during which the agency must submit annual reports attesting continued compliance with those standards under which it was initially accredited. Just recently, CALEA has begun transitioning to a four year process that will include yearly compliance status checks of pre-determined standards selected by CALEA.
Wilson Police Department explains the importance of Accreditation to our citizens by asking: “Would you want your child to attend a non-accredited University and/or would you want any family member to visit a hospital that was non-accredited?” Viewing the process in this manner demonstrates the importance of the Accreditation process.
The benefits of Accreditation for a department are:
- Greater accountability within the agency
- Reduce risk and liability exposure
- Stronger defense against civil lawsuits
- Reliable support from government officials
- Increased community advocacy
For more information about CALEA click here.
WILSON POLICE DEPARTMENT'S HISTORY WITH ACCREDITATION
The Wilson Police Department was the second (2nd) law enforcement agency in North Carolina and the forty-seventh (47th) agency nationwide to achieve accredited status. The initial accreditation for Wilson Police Department took place in 1987. There are only 5% of law enforcement agencies nationally who have achieved Accreditation status.
In April 2006, the police department was awarded Flagship Agency status. The Flagship Agency Program was introduced in December 2004 to acknowledge the achievement and expertise of some of the most successful CALEA Accredited Agencies, and also to assist others by providing “flagship examples.” For each conference the CALEA Staff selects Flagship Agencies based primarily on the agencies’ past awards, current assessment, and overall professional standing in the public safety community. Selected agencies are invited to exhibit or serve as a resource at the Process and Programs Information Desk to showcase their agency’s written directives, offer networking opportunities, discuss issues, and offer suggestions based on their experiences with CALEA Accreditation.
In 2012, the police department was not only awarded re-accreditation, it was also recognized as a meritorious & excellence agency. In 2014, Wilson Police Department received their 9th re-accreditation and was also recognized as a meritorious agency. Meritorious awards are presented to those agencies with 15 or more continuous years of accreditation.
November 12-15, 2017 Wilson Police Department went through their 10th re-accreditation. The department was registered to undergo the Gold Standard Assessment, which is the highest level a law enforcement agency can achieve within Accreditation. The Gold Standard Assessment is more interview intensive with departmental personnel as well as external stakeholders. Before an agency can even be considered for a Gold Standard Assessment the agency has to meet the following criteria:
- Must have two previous accreditation awards at the level of accreditation currently being sought.
- Must not have had compliance issues in most recent assessment.
- Must not have had process management issues in most recent assessment.
- Must not currently be under a consent decree or memorandum of understanding.
- Must not be exercising agency requested assessment extension option for current process.
- Must have submitted all three Agency Status Reports as required and on time.
The 485 standards have already been reviewed before Accreditation personnel arrive; therefore, the Assessment Team can focus on ensuring the department is performing what it written within their policies and procedures. It is like the old saying goes, “Are we practicing what we preach?” The Gold Standard Assessment changes the process from a strictly file management compliance process to an assessment of projected outcomes based explicitly on an agency’s needs.
As stated by CALEA, “The strength of the process comes from the flexibility in issues reviewed and allowing for more in-depth reviews of issues. Assessment reports go beyond simple compliance and identify areas for future improvement, weaknesses that could impact the agency’s risk levels, areas of exceptional organizational strength, and findings that could present new opportunities”.
The Wilson Police Department did exceptionally well in November and were award our 10th re-accreditation Gold Standard with the following awards of Excellence and Meritorious stature.
Read more about our accreditation here.