The UT Police Department has obtained its third reaccreditation with gold standard distinction, meaning it received high marks for compliance in all 484 nationally accepted individual law enforcement standards.
The Commission for Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) recently awarded UTPD the reaccreditation award during a ceremony in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
CALEA accreditation gives law enforcement agencies added credibility.
Only 5 percent of all US law enforcement agencies are accredited, including the Knoxville Police Department in addition to UTPD. Currently, UTPD is one of only two CALEA-accredited university departments in Tennessee.
“We pursue accreditation because at the end of the day we want to be able to say we meet or exceed national standards,” said Troy Lane, UT associate vice chancellor for public safety and chief of police.
The reaccreditation process examines areas such as use of force, emergency management, conflict response, community service, recruitment and diversity.
“CALEA complimented us on our diversity and asked what we’re doing to achieve that goal,” said Mike Richardson, UTPD’s administrative lieutenant. He led the accreditation process along with Allen Capps, UTPD’s accreditation manager.
UTPD is made up of 55 commissioned officers, 11 of whom are women and 12 of whom are people of color.
UTPD often examines its recruitment plans and ways to increase its efforts so officers better represent the overall community the department serves, Richardson said. That way, officers can address situations from different perspectives.
“We’re constantly looking at what works and how we could do better,” he said. “In the past, we’ve done what every department did, which was go to job fairs. But we’re going to also start going out to some community groups, visiting colleges and police academies to speak to prospective officers.”
To receive reaccreditation, UTPD was required to submit proofs that it is compliant and that its policies, procedures, and practices meet specific standards. The process included self-assessment and interviews with members of the UT and Knoxville communities about the agency’s effectiveness and overall service delivery.
UTPD first earned CALEA accreditation in 2009 after three years of preparation. The department received its first reaccreditation in 2012. Every four years, UTPD is required to submit for full reaccreditation. To find out more, visit the CALEA website.
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