The Tallahassee Police Department recently received national accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies. This makes the TPD the third longest nationally accredited agency in the country.
“CALEA is an independent, outside agency looking in to making sure that our policies will better serve the community,” said TPD Public Information Officer David McCranie.
The agency enforces policies by taking a strenuous look at the department in question, sometimes taking up to 3 years.
“There are over 400 standards that we have to pass,” McCranie said.
CALEA’s Web site puts these standards into seven broad categories: Written directives, management decisions, preparedness program, relationship with the community, accountability, liability and risk exposure, and professional excellence. The TPD does not have to go before CALEA, which is located in Fairfax, VA., to become accredited.
“We actually apply for the accreditation and then we get reviewed by CALEA on site,” McCranie said.
The Commission’s Web site states that first-time applicants for accreditation can pay anywhere from $5,425 to $25,200 depending on the number of employees, and payment option chosen. However, this accreditation does not last forever.
The cost to apply for a continuation of existing accreditation, as TPD did, ranges from $3,435 to $5,730, depending on the same variables stated previously. “We apply to get re-checked every three years,” McCranie said.
Started in 1979, CALEA was granted its first accreditation award in 1984. A board comprising 21 members runs the Commission. Eleven law enforcement professionals and 10 representatives from public and private sectors make up the Commission.
The commissioners serve on a voluntary basis without compensation for three years at a time. This term can be renewed in a staggered form. It meets three times a year for four days at a time - in the months of March, July and November. Though the TPD is doing what it can to prove its worth to the community, some feel like it may not be enough.
“I feel moderately safer,” said Brittney Tyson, 20, a junior pharmacy student from Atlanta, about the TPD’s accreditation status. “But it still hasn’t stopped the crimes on (FAMU) campus from occurring, or slowing down, so really I don’t know what to think.”
Dwayne Que, 20, a junior computer programming student from Jacksonville, said, “I don’t care, because I have never felt like the TPD has done anything to help me anyway.”
McCranie stressed the accreditation’s importance. “We look at losing our accreditation like an officer losing his certification,” he said. “Our ultimate goal is professionalism.”