Florida A&M University Police Department was awarded accreditation by the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation, Inc.
The department received their award in Daytona Beach, Fla. on Wednesday. Florida A&M among 27 other agencies got their re-accreditation or initial accreditation.
Being accredited was the highest recognition among Florida’s law enforcement community. The accreditation process said that a criminal justice agency has adhered to the 240 standards that the state of Florida has set forth.
Chief Terence Calloway said he was happy to be there.
“It was truly an honor to be there,” Calloway said . “This gives us an elite status we’ve never had before.”
This achievement placed FAMUPD in the ranks of other universities and city police departments that have been accredited for years.
“This puts us in another category,” Calloway said. “FAMU used to be the laughing stock of police departments, but we’re in the big leagues now.”
Some of the accreditation standards include: compliance with the evidence room, uniforms, policies and procedures adherence. The FAMUPD worked diligently to complete 24 months of work in just nine months.
“In January 2013 the first woman that came to inspect our department said that our evidence room was the worst she had ever seen, and that stuck with me,” Chief Calloway said. “When they came back in October for our onset, a different group said our evidence room was the best they had ever seen comparing us to larger county, city and sheriff departments.”
According to Calloway, Vicki Cutcliffe, the accreditation manager for the police department, was very instrumental to their success.
Cutcliffe assisted in rewriting the entire policy manual which included grievance policies, media relations and internal affairs. She provided aid in rebuilding the evidence room, and establishing accounting and budgeting systems in line with accreditation standards.
“The agency has excelled beyond what my expectations were, this was a process that normally takes 24 months and we were ready within seven,” Cutcliffe said. “The feeling I have is one of pride and appreciation for the dedication of everyone involved in the process.”
Several years prior to the award, FAMUPD tried getting accreditation from the state, but was unsuccessful. As early as 2002, the department had been undergoing setbacks that didn’t allow their accreditation.
Norman Rollins, administrative lieutenant, thought the accreditation was worth the investment.
“Once we looked into getting accredited, we saw what there were lots of investments and improvements we had to make in our facility before we could even entertain the process,” Rollins said. “Some of the rules have changed, so that smaller agencies are able to apply and be successful.”
Despite their financial shortcomings and burdens placed on them, FAMUPD came out on top. The department didn’t have a budget for the process, they found ways to offset one thing to make up for another.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our team,” Chief Calloway said. “It took lots of determination, tenacity, setting egos aside and working as a group to reach our goal.”
Calloway foresaw this accreditation, improving recruitment and retention amongst the staff. Their accredited status will remain in effect for three years.