By Holly Wells
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, December 2, 2005
Campus cops seek community input
The University of Arizona Police Department is seeking reaccredidation, and community members will have the chance to give their input about the department at a public hearing Monday.
UAPD plans to hold the hearing at 7 p.m. in Room 205 of the "Swede" Johnson building. It is a mandatory step the department must take to be reaccredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.
UAPD will also be accepting phone calls and written comments from anyone who wants to voice their thoughts about the department.
"They can speak for or against us," said UAPD Cmdr. Kevin Haywood. "We encourage any information that is relevant to us in this process."
Accreditation by CALEA, which is made up of both civilian and law enforcement communities, is voluntary.
Sgt. Eugene Mejia, UAPD spokesman, said CALEA establishes consistent standards for member agencies and that gaining accreditation is a highly recognized achievement in law enforcement.
"It recognizes us as an agency in compliance with federal and international standards," Mejia said. "It's important for the community we serve to know we are competent and continue to comply with standards."
CALEA will examine UAPD policies and procedures, management, operations and support services.
In order to gain reaccredidation, UAPD must fulfill, to varying degrees, a list of 443 different standards.
The standards establish guidelines for creating written policies to address a wide array of issues affecting agencies, such as requiring a code of ethics, a clear statement of objectives and goals, arrest procedures and minimum equipment standards.
"Each standard gets the same amount of attention," Haywood said. "It runs a wide gamut, it could be on how we issue traffic citations or our policy for the use of deadly force."
The assessor team will review written materials, UAPD policy, interview department members and visit other places around the UA where compliance with CALEA standards can be assessed, Haywood said.
Haywood has served as a CALEA assessor, assessing other agencies, for the past five years. He said agencies are not told how to specifically meet the standards and said there are several ways in which standards can be met.
"The main thing is to go in with an open mind and look at the standards and what the agency has done to meet them," Haywood said. "Then we verify that they have met them."
The UAPD first attained accreditation in March 1993 and was the third law enforcement agency in the state to become accredited. It was also the fifth university police department in the nation and the first in Arizona to gain accreditation.
CALEA member agencies must apply for reaccredidation every three years. The three-member team of assessors from the commission will be on campus from tomorrow to Wednesday, Haywood said.
A report will then be compiled and given to the commission for review. UAPD will present at a hearing in July and will not know until after the hearing if they have been reaccredited, he said.
People who cannot attend the hearing can call 626-9456 on Monday between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Members of the assessment team will be available to receive comments. Written comments can be mailed to the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement, Inc., 10306 Eaton Place, Suite 320, Fairfax, VA 22030-2201.
For more information about CALEA, call 1-800-368-3757 or visit www.calea.org.