Weigh in on SPD

Published 10:26 pm Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Accreditation team to take public comments

The Suffolk Police Department is nearing the end of its initial accreditation process and will welcome a team of assessors from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc. next month.

The assessors will arrive Dec. 1 to examine all aspects of the department’s policies and procedures, management, operations and support services.

As part of the assessment, agency personnel and members of the public are invited to offer comments at a public information session set for Dec. 2 at 6 p.m. in City Council chambers, 441 Market St.

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“To become accredited, our agency must meet a multitude of standards,” Police Chief Thomas Bennett wrote in a press release. “CALEA standards give the Chief of Police a proven management system of written directives, sound training, clearly defined lines of authority and routine reports that support decision-making and resource allocation.  Accreditation provides objective evidence of an agency’s commitment to excellence in leadership, resource management, and service-delivery. Thus, government officials and our citizens will be more confident in the department’s ability to operate efficiently and meet community needs.”

To gain accreditation, the police department must comply with 188 standards that contain more than 300 sub-standards.

The accreditation assessors for Suffolk are retired Chief Randy M. Nichols from Greenville, N.C., and Capt. Melvin Lange of the North Palm Beach, Fla., Police Department.

Comments at the public information session are limited to 10 minutes and must address the agency’s ability to comply with the standards. Those who cannot make it to the meeting can provide telephone comments by calling 514-4223 between the hours of 1 and 3 p.m. Dec. 2 or can submit written comments by email at calea@calea.org or by mail at 13575 Heathcote Blvd., Suite 320, Gainesville, VA 20155.

Accreditation costs $14,775 for the initial three-year accreditation cycle and $5,000 per year every year for re-accreditation, city spokeswoman Diana Klink said.