Good cop, good copPublished 9:30pm Monday, December 2, 2013
Seldom was heard a discouraging word at a public hearing held to evaluate whether the Suffolk Police Department should receive its initial accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.
Seven people from local businesses, organizations and government entities spoke positively about the department’s efforts across a wide range of areas, from providing emergency response at U.S. Department of Defense installations in North Suffolk to raising money for Relay For Life.
“This police department is one of the finest,” said Ronnie Rountree, a Suffolk native and operator of Sleepy Hole Golf Course, where the Relay For Life tournament is held. “I’ve seen this city just explode in a mighty way, and this police department we’ve got has just kept up with the growth.”
Kevin Alston, director of operations for Suffolk Public Schools, told accreditation assessors about the multi-faceted relationship the school division has with the police department.
“I can’t say enough about what the police department does for our school division,” Alston said.
He mentioned the seven school resource officers who are assigned to the city’s middle and high schools. The officers do everything from conducting law enforcement to helping teach classes on laws and health topics such as drugs. They also work with the students to discourage gang involvement and encourage seatbelt use and have even helped the school division receive grants, Alston said.
Two security officials from the Defense Department’s location on Lakeview Parkway in North Suffolk also said the department has responded professionally to a number of incidents in the complex and has sat in on working groups to prepare for threats.
“The response has been right on, and it’s been quite pleasant to work with them, actually,” said John Whalen, deputy director for security for the Joint Staff.
Cathy Richards of the Suffolk Crime Line board, Rick Matthews of the YMCA and Bill Gordon of the Target Import Warehouse also gave favorable reviews of their partnerships with the police department.
The accreditation team arrived Sunday and will leave Tuesday. While in town, team members took a ride-along with an officer and reviewed documents the department has prepared detailing their efforts to comply with nearly 200 standards spelled out by the accrediting agency.
Those who missed the meeting still can submit written comments by email at email@example.com or by mail at 13575 Heathcote Blvd., Suite 320, Gainesville, VA 20155.