By Edina A.T. Strum
Arizona Summer Wildcat June 12, 1996
The University of Arizona Police Department recently completed the on-site portion of its accreditation review process.
The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies establishes uniform standards for police departments, which include vehicle pursuit methods, the use of force, grievance procedures and investigation of complaints against the department and its officers. About 430 other standards are part of the process, but these four are the central issues, according to Acting Lt. Brian Seastone.
"Accreditation is the recognition of law enforcement excellence," said UAPD Chief J.M. Thomas.
UAPD first received its accreditation in March 1993 and volunteered for the new, three-year review format. The old standard was a five-year review, but Seastone said the three-year review "is easier to manage in the long run."
The on-site review was conducted by assessors from various out-of-state law enforcement agencies and included reviews of written documents, interviews with officers, personal observations and input from the public. Their report has been submitted to the commission for review.
"We were found to be in compliance with all of the required standards and in compliance with 98 percent of the nonmandatory standards," Seastone said. "They will recommend reaccreditation."
The two percent not met included items such as intelligence gathering and a benefit system for officers' families in case the officers are seriously injured on the job.
"It's wasn't that we didn't comply, but that we elected not to comply," Seastone said.
A final decision will be made at the commission's general meeting in Des Moines, Iowa, Aug. 3, said Ted LeMay, a representative of the commission.
Only 390 out of approximately 17,000 police departments currently have accreditation.
"It's an honor and gives the department the gold seal of approval on its policies and procedures," Seastone said.