Acclaim was well deserved

Published 7:39 pm Saturday, November 29, 2014

When Suffolk Police Officer Heather Linville came to the period in her pregnancy in which she needed desk duty, the easiest thing would have been to try to slide by, do her time off the regular beat, count the days until her maternity leave kicked in and then plan her return to the force.

Instead, Linville saw a chance to show the department’s leadership how she could excel in detail-oriented work. She volunteered for a couple of projects that highlighted her abilities and soon found herself as the go-to person in the department for an important effort to earn accreditation through the Commission for Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.

The accreditation process requires maintaining close to 180 standards — many of which have multiple sub-standards — as well as closely tracking statistics on many aspects of what the department does. Accreditation ultimately ensures Suffolk citizens can have confidence their police department is adhering to the highest standards of conduct and procedure, and it provides mechanisms for transparency that help ensure those standards do not flag once the process has concluded.

Email newsletter signup

Linville was responsible for coordinating a department-wide effort to collect information, set up measurement and accountability standards and prepare the department’s application. That effort was ultimately successful, earning the Suffolk Police Department CALEA accreditation — a distinction shared by fewer than 5 percent of U.S. police departments — in March 2014.

On a personal level, Linville’s hard work also resulted in her own recognition as one of 17 police officers to receive the Greater Hampton Roads Crime Line’s Top Cop award at the beginning of November.

Congratulations to Officer Linville for her award and to the Suffolk Police Department for its accreditation. In both cases, the acclaim is well deserved.