On Saturday, July 28, 2018, the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA) held hearings in Grand Rapids, Mi. to review assessment reports of over 120 different law enforcement agencies from across the nation.
For the past several months, a team of CALEA Assessors conducted both off-site file reviews and on-site observations and interviews to assist the panel in their assessment of the police department. Their findings were compiled into a final report that was submitted to the full commission for review.
Less than seven percent of all law enforcement agencies in the United States, Canada, and Mexico are accredited through CALEA. Of the seven percent accredited, only approximately four percent of those have received the highest distinction possible, the Advanced Law Enforcement Accreditation, under a Gold Standard Assessment with the “Accreditation with Excellence” Award. Chief Brian Benton testified during the hearings where it was announced that the commission was awarding the Joliet Police Department with this prestigious honor for a second consecutive time. “I had little doubt that we would be reaccredited based on the professionalism of our department, and as reinforced by our assessors during our on-site, but receiving the “Accreditation with Excellence Award” for back-to-back assessments was truly a welcome affirmation of the high quality of our department”- Chief Brian Benton.
CALEA originally developed a program to enhance law enforcement as a profession and to improve law enforcement service delivery. Since 1979 that mission continues through a tiered law enforcement accreditation program. Agencies may volunteer to participate in either CALEA Law Enforcement Accreditation (Tier 1) or CALEA Advanced Law Enforcement Accreditation (Tier 2). These programs provide a process to systematically conduct an internal review and assessment of the agencies’ policies and procedures, and make adjustments wherever necessary to meet a body of internationally accepted benchmark standards.
• CALEA Accreditation requires an agency to develop a comprehensive, well thought out, uniform set of written directives. This is one of the most successful methods for reaching administrative and operational goals, while also providing direction to personnel.
• CALEA Accreditation standards provide the necessary reports and analyses a CEO needs to make fact-based, informed management decisions.
• CALEA Accreditation requires a preparedness program be put in place—so an agency is ready to address natural or man-made unusual occurrences.
• CALEA Accreditation is a means for developing or improving upon an agency’s relationship with the community.
• CALEA Accreditation strengthens an agency’s accountability, both within the agency and the community, through a continuum of standards that clearly define authority, performance, and responsibilities.
• Being CALEA Accredited can limit an agency’s liability and risk exposure because it demonstrates that internationally recognized standards for law enforcement have been met, as verified by a team of independent outside CALEA-trained assessors.
• CALEA Accreditation facilitates an agency’s pursuit of professional excellence.
Joliet has been accredited since 2003. While the process is ongoing and requires regular documentation of compliance with the benchmark standards, the on-site assessments take place every three years.