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Law Enforcement Accreditation

An accreditation program has long been recognized as a means of maintaining the highest standards of professionalism. Accreditation is the certification by an independent reviewing authority that an entity has met specific requirements and prescribed standards. Schools, universities, and hospitals are some of the most well known organizations that are required to maintain accreditation. Now, law enforcement agencies can attain accredited status through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc (CALEA). Since the first CALEA Accreditation Award was granted in 1984, the program has become the primary method for an agency to voluntarily demonstrate their commitment to excellence in law enforcement.

The primary purpose of the Commission is to improve law enforcement service by creating a national body of standards developed by law enforcement professionals. Furthermore, it recognizes professional achievements by establishing and administering an accreditation process through which a law enforcement agency can demonstrate that it meets those standards. CALEA derives its general authority from the four major law enforcement membership associations whose members represent approximately 80% of the law enforcement profession in the United States.

The standards upon which the Law Enforcement Accreditation Program is based reflect the current thinking and experience of law enforcement practitioners and researchers. Major law enforcement associations, leading educational and training institutions, governmental agencies, as well as law enforcement executives internationally, acknowledge CALEA’s Standards for Law Enforcement Agencies© and its Accreditation Programs as benchmarks for professional law enforcement agencies.

Only three percent of law enforcement agencies in the United States are accredited. To achieve accreditation, a police department must demonstrate compliance with rigorous standards designed to increase agency effectiveness and efficiency, promote excellence, and increase citizen and employee confidence in the goals, objectives, policies, and practices of the agency. The accreditation process requires a commitment from all members of the agency.

For more information on Calea, click here for a video presentation.

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