GAINESVILLE, Va. – The La Plata (MD) Police Department was awarded national accreditation on July 23, 2022, by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA) in the law enforcement program(s). The agency was first accredited in July 2018.
Following a multi-year self-assessment phase and a meticulous site-based assessment of community engagement, policy, procedures, equipment and facilities by CALEA assessors, La Plata Police Chief Carl Schinner, Compliance Coordinator Jacquelyn DeSoto, Lieutenant Michael Payne, Lieutenant Robert Bagley, along with Mayor Jeannine James attended the CALEA conference in Chicago, Illinios. Each agency being reviewed goes before CALEA’s 21-member Board of Commissioners where the commission reviews all findings and determines the agencies’ accreditation status.
The evening of the hearing, during the celebration banquet, CALEA President Marcus Brown and Executive Director Craig Hartley awarded the La Plata Police Department with accreditation, signifying excellence in public safety and commitment to community. This is the La Plata Police Department’s second award of national accreditation. The La Plata Police Department now moves into CALEA’s four-year Accreditation cycle that includes four annual remote, web-based file reviews and a site-based assessment in the fourth year.
Chief Carl Schinner noted “There has never been a more important time for police agencies to operate within law enforcements best practices than now. CALEA provides law enforcement agencies with a roadmap for success. We are honored to be Maryland’s smallest law enforcement accredited agency.”
In 1979, the Commission was created through the combined efforts of four major law enforcement organizations; the International Association of Chiefs of Police, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, National Sheriffs’ Association and the Police Executive Research Forum.
The purpose of the Commission is to develop standards based on international best practices in public safety, and to establish and administer the accreditation process. The accreditation process is how a public safety agency voluntarily demonstrates how it meets professionally recognized criteria for excellence in management and service delivery.
“This award of accreditation does not come easy,” said CALEA President Marcus Brown. “Agencies must go through a rigorous review and evaluation of their organization and then implement the necessary policy and procedure changes. The process does not stop at that point. By voluntarily choosing to seek CALEA accreditation, the agency commits to an ongoing review of adherence to CALEA’s standards. Each community with CALEA accredited agencies should feel confident that their public safety organization is going above and beyond and operating under the highest standards in public safety.”
Benefits of Accreditation
Controlled Liability Insurance Costs – Accredited status makes it easier for agencies to purchase liability insurance; allows agencies to increase the limit of their insurance coverage more easily; and, in many cases, results in lower premiums.
Stronger Defense Against Lawsuits and Citizen Complaints – Accredited agencies are better able to defend themselves against lawsuits and citizen complaints. Many agencies report a decline in legal actions against them once they become accredited.
Greater Accountability Within the Agency – Accreditation standards give the Chief Executive Officer a proven management system of written directives, sound training, clearly defined lines of authority, and routine reports that support decision making and resource allocation.
Staunch Support from Government Officials – Accreditation provides objective evidence of an agency’s commitment to excellence in leadership, resource management, and service-delivery. Thus, government officials are more confident in the agency’s ability to operate efficiently and meet community needs.
Increases Community Advocacy – Accreditation embodies the precepts of community-oriented policing. It creates a forum in which police and citizens work together to prevent and control crime. This partnership helps citizens understand the challenges confronting law enforcement and gives law enforcement clear direction about community expectations.
Improved Employee Morale – Accreditation is a coveted award that symbolizes professionalism, excellence, and competence. It requires written directives and training to inform employees about policies and practices; facilities and equipment to ensure employee safety; and processes to safeguard employee rights. Employees take pride in their agency, knowing it represents the very best in public safety.