YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: The Ridgewood Police Department continued its distinction of maintaining continuous international accreditation longer than any law enforcement agency in the state – 17 years — when it received formal notification that the designation was renewed by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA).
A benchmark agency since 2010, Ridgewood police have maintained more than 480 “best practice” standards while remaining in compliance with local, county, state and federal laws and administrative regulations, based on rigorous inspections. That makes the department a “gold standard” for law enforcement agencies, according to the commission.
Those who favor accreditation say it’s one thing to have guidelines but another to have them held up as a model internationally. Although it hasn’t been proven to directly improve police response time, reduce crime, or cut costs to taxpayers, accreditation does send a message that a department is committed to professionalism — the same as colleges and other institutions do.
Accreditation strengthens an agency’s accountability, both within the agency and the community, “through a continuum of standards that clearly define authority, performance, and responsibilities,” according to the commission.
It also develops or improves a police department’s relationship with the community.
This, in turn, helps reduce liability insurance and assures that a law enforcement agency is meeting the highest standards of operation.
CALEA accreditation requires an agency to develop a comprehensive, uniform set of written directives.
“This is one of the most successful methods for reaching administrative and operational goals, while also providing direction to personnel,” the commission said.
It also requires a preparedness program be in place to address natural or man-made disasters.
The international team of assessors that visited Ridgewood in December reviewed all aspects of the department’s policies and procedures, management, operations, and support services as part of the process.
Made up of law enforcement officers, the team reviewed written materials, interviewed members of the department, as well as citizens, and visited offices and other places where compliance with the standards could be seen.
Ridgewood police entered the program in 1996 to demonstrate their “commitment to providing quality service” to the community, Police Chief John Ward said.
The prestigious ‘flagship’ benchmark distinction puts the department among the top law enforcement agencies ranked by the CALEA.
MORE INFO: calea.org
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