The concept of accreditation dates back to 1787. It was first designed in New York to enhance the educational process at the college level. Since then, the process has changed to incorporate many different disciplines and professions.
The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies(CALEA) was formed in 1979 and began operation in 1983. It was formed by four organizations:
International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)
National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE)
National Sheriffs Association (NSA)
Police Executive Research Forum (PERF)
Increased accountability within the agency.
Defined services provided.
Uniformity in service delivery.
Promote efficient and effective administration and deployment of personnel.
Provide stronger defense against lawsuits.
Improve employee morale.
The Commission is composed of 21 members, of which 11 are law enforcement professionals and 10 are professionals from the private sector. The goals of the Commission are:
1. Strengthen crime prevention and control capabilities.
2. Formalize essential management procedures.
3. Establish fair and nondiscriminatory personnel practices.
4. Improve service delivery.
5. Solidify interagency cooperation and coordination.
6. Boost citizen and staff confidence in the agency.
Benefits from being nationally accredited by CALEA include:
The Roanoke Police Department began studying the accreditation process in 1985. An application to CALEA was submitted in February 1989 and an on-site assessment was conducted by CALEA from May 22-26, 1994. During the assessment a team of assessors from CALEA visited the Department and examined every aspect to determine compliance with policies and procedures. The Roanoke Police Department received accreditation status on July 30,1994, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, making it the 311th agency to be nationally accredited.
The Department was re-accredited in 1999 and 2002, both of which required an on-site assessment and a hearing before the Commission where the Commission asked questions of the Department. In 2002, the Commission made mention that they were extremely impressed with several initiatives in which the department was involved to include training (allowing officers to choose their training interest), school programs (DARE and the School Based Partnership), and accident reduction efforts. The Roanoke Police Department received national re-accreditation again on July 26, 2008. An on-site assessment was held in April 2008, in which a team of three assessors from CALEAŽ examined all aspects of the Roanoke Police Department’s policies and procedures, management, operations, and support services. The assessment team had no applied discretions (policy changes or physical plant modifications), no file maintenance issues, and no non-compliance issues. The three assessors were extremely complimentary of everything they reviewed policy and personnel related. In the team’s final report Chief James E. Carmody, the team leader, said, “Having used nearly every superlative and adjective to describe how well prepared this agency was for its on-site assessment, the Team can simply say this; assessing an agency the caliber of the Roanoke Police Department was truly an honor and a privilege.” Chief A.L. Gaskins went before the Commission on July 26, for a final hearing, after which the department was awarded national re-accreditation. During the hearing the Commission described the Roanoke Police Department as stellar.
On November 19, 2011, the Roanoke Police Department received national re-accreditation and the Training Academy received initial accreditation. In September 2011, a team of assessors from CALEA held an on-site assessment at the Department as well as the Training Academy examining policies and procedures, management, operations, and support services. The CALEA Assessors then reported recommendations to the full Commission, which has granted the Department re-accreditation status and granted the Training Academy an initial accreditation.
The Department, Training Academy, and City of Roanoke also received numerous awards to include Law Enforcement Accreditation with Excellence,
Initial Public Safety Training Academy Accreditation, the Meritorious Advanced Law Enforcement Award, and the TRI-ARC Award. The TRI-ARC award was given to the City of Roanoke for managing a CALEA accredited law enforcement agency, law enforcement training academy, and 9-1-1 Communications Center; and Accreditation with Excellence was given to the agency demonstrating exceptional achievement and support of CALEA standards.
The Roanoke Police Department must comply with 464 standards to gain accredited status. Accreditation is for three years, during which time the agency must submit annual reports attesting continued compliance with those standards under which it was initially accredited.
Click here for more information on CALEA.