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Police assessment team invites public comment

The Suffolk Police Department is scheduled for an on-site assessment from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc. (CALEA) on Monday, Nov. 9, as part of a program to achieve re-accreditation by verifying it continues to meet professional standards.

The accreditation program requires agencies to comply with state-of-the-art standards in four basic areas: policy and procedures, administration, operations and support services. The Suffolk Police Department must comply with approximately 163 standards which, in turn, contain more than 300 sub-standards in order to gain accredited status.

As part of the on-site assessment, agency employees and members of the community are invited to offer comments at the public information session from 1 to 3 p.m. Nov. 9. This session will be conducted in the City Council Chamber at City Hall, 442 W. Washington St. Suffolk City Hall will be accessible to the public for this limited purpose only.

Additionally, in keeping with the Governor’s executive order and CDC recommendations, face coverings will be required and social distancing recommendations will be adhered to for this public indoor setting to help contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. Staff have and will continue to increase sanitizing of common surfaces.

If, for some reason, an individual cannot speak at the public information session, but would still like to provide comments to the assessment team, agency employees and the public are also invited to offer comments by calling 757-514- 4223 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 9. Comments will be taken by the assessment team.

Telephone comments as well as appearances at the public information session are limited to 10 minutes and must address the agency’s ability to comply with CALEA’s standards. A copy of the standards is available for review at the Suffolk Police Department Headquarters, located at 111 Henley Place. Contact the Accreditation Manager, Master Police Officer Andrew Fenneman, at 514-7959 for an appointment.

Anyone wishing to submit written comments about the Suffolk Police Department’s ability to comply with the standards for re-accreditation may send them to the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Inc. (CALEA), 13575 Heathcote Boulevard, Suite 320, Gainesville, VA 20155, or email calea@calea.org.

Accreditation is for four years, during which the agency must submit annual reports attesting to continued compliance with those standards under which it was initially accredited. This rigorous process offers a transparency to the public which mutually benefits both parties so that the Suffolk Police Department can work together to build and support the most viable community possible. Enrollment in the CALEA Accreditation process is strictly voluntary, as most departments would not be able to reach compliance with the strict accountability standards that are required. Only a small percentage of all police departments in the nation are accredited, as it takes the highest level of commitment to excellence to be able to comply with all of the requirements.