Public can give input in police accreditation process

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A team of assessors from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies will arrive here Sunday to examine all aspects of the Wilson Police Department’s policy and procedures, management, operations and support services.

As part of the on-site assessment, agency employees and members of the community are invited to offer comments at a public information session scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday. The session will be conducted in the Wilson City Council chambers on the third floor of the municipal building located at 110 N. Goldsboro St.

Those who cannot speak at the public information session but would like to provide comments to the assessment team can do so by telephone. Call 252-296-3031 on Monday between 1 and 3 p.m.

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 at the Wilson Police Department.

Individuals wishing to offer written comments about the Wilson Police Department’s ability to meet the standards for accreditation are requested to write to Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA), 13575 Heathcote Blvd., Suite 320, Gainesville VA, 20155.

Verification by the team that the Wilson Police Department meets the commission’s standards is part of a voluntary process to gain accreditation, a highly prized recognition of law enforcement professional excellence.

The accreditation manager and team for the Wilson Police Department includes Capt. Kendra Howell, Sgt. Steven Stroud and Officer Sacejewia White. The assessment team includes law enforcement practitioners from similar but out-of-state agencies.

The assessors will review written materials, interview individuals and visit offices and other places where compliance can be witnessed. Assessors are Chief Ricky Pinksaw of the Emporia (Virginia) Police Department and Inspector Dan Isgett of the Berkeley County (South Carolina) Sheriff’s Office.

Once the commission’s assessors complete their review of the agency, they report back to the full commission, which will then decide if the agency is to be granted accredited status.

Accreditation is for three years, during which the agency must submit annual reports attesting continued compliance with those standards under which it was initially accredited. The Wilson Police Department was the second law enforcement agency in North Carolina and the 47th agency nationwide to achieve accredited status, according to a media release from the police department.

The initial accreditation took place in 1987. In April 2006, the police department was awarded Flagship Agency status. The Flagship Agency program was introduced in December 2004 to acknowledge the achievement and expertise of some of the most successful CALEA accredited agencies and also to assist others by providing “flagship examples.”

For each conference, the CALEA staff selects flagship agencies based primarily on the agencies’ past awards, current assessment and overall professional standing in the public safety community. Selected agencies are invited to exhibit or serve as a resource at the process and programs info desk to showcase the agency’s written directives, offer networking opportunities, discuss issues and offer suggestions based on their experiences with CALEA accreditation.

In 2012, the police department was not only awarded re-accreditation, it was also recognized as a meritorious and excellence agency. In 2014, the Wilson Police Department received its ninth re-accreditation and was also recognized as a meritorious agency. Meritorious awards are presented to those agencies with 15 or more continuous years of accreditation.