Salisbury police earn re-accreditation

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 31, 2011

SALISBURY ó The final phase in the Salisbury Police Departmentís efforts to gain its seventh consecutive re-accreditation ended Saturday evening.
Salisbury Police Chief Rory Collins and Lt. Andy Efird, the departmentís professional standards commander, made a presentation to the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) in Bethesda, Md.
The process to maintain Internationally Accredited status is extensive. For an agency to remain accredited, it must comply with 464 separate standards, which are established by CALEA.
The intent is to ensure agencies that earn the right to recognition maintain an exceptionally high level of professionalism and that they operate on a daily basis in a way that exhibits widely acceptable policing methods.
The departmentís process to gain their re-accredited status began with a mock assessment in August, in which three CALEA assessors from across North Carolina reviewed the departmentís work.
Following the mock process, an official on-site assessment took place in December, with a team of CALEA assessors from different parts of the country conducting a full review of the department.
Their work included a study of departmental files; meetings with staff, to include civilian, sworn, and upper command level positions; conducting a ride-along with officers; and visiting a crime scene while it was being processed by department staff.
Near the completion of the three-day visit, a community input session took place in which the assessors received input from members of the community via telephone, written letters, as well as in person.
The final phase of this process included a hearing before the board of commissioners for CALEA during the meeting in Bethesda, Md.
During the hearing, Collins introduced Efird, who led the departmentís effort for re-accreditation, as well as Michael Dhooghe, a civilian staff member of the department who was recently appointed to the duty of serving as the departmentís accreditation manager as part of Collinsí recent overall re-organization plan.
Collins also spoke with the commissioners about the department and its attributes, the communities crime rate, and the departmentís crime clearance rate.
At the completion of the hearing, the CALEA commissioners indicated they were pleased with the strength of the department, its leadership, its civilian and sworn staff, and the positive direction that it is going under its new leadership.
The commissioners then voted to extend full re-accreditation to the department.
Accreditation is not a requirement for police agencies. However, the benefits of are significant.
In addition to providing a strong sense of pride and professionalism for the staff, it can create confidence in the community.
The recognition means that the agency has developed a solid set of operational policies that guide procedures in various situations.
This accreditation status is in effect for three years, during which time the agency must submit annual reports attesting to continued compliance with those standards under which they were initially accredited.