The La Plata Police Department (LPPD) is excited to announce it has earned national accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), which is considered the gold standard in public safety. The department was awarded accreditation after a formal hearing on July 29, 2018 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
In April, an assessment team from CALEA spent multiple days at LPPD and in the La Plata community conducting interviews with elected officials, Town executives, department staff, and community members; reviewing written materials and examining policies, procedures, and operations protocols across the full spectrum of department activities, including riding along with officers in the field to verify that policies and procedures were actually in practice.

The CALEA assessors’ official report identified zero standards issues. The assessment report did however, highlight some of the agency’s key community policing initiatives. “Crime prevention and community involvement is clearly a strength for the La Plata Police Department. The agency
is visible, proactive and community oriented and has successfully engaged its community in a partnership to maintain a safe community.”

Mayor Jeannine James stated, “Attaining CALEA’s Certificate of Accreditation is the culmination of many years of hard work, dedication and perseverance by our Police Department. In our nation, there are approximately 15,000 police and law enforcement organizations yet less than 800 today have achieved the status of accreditation. I am so honored to be a witness to this milestone. The fact that the LPPD, which is a small agency, saw the value in working towards and achieving the “Gold Standard in Law Enforcement” is a testament to our citizens and business owners that they have established and will operate by the highest standards associated with training, operations, police and procedure. This is a proud moment not only for the department but also our entire community!”

Chief Carl Schinner noted after the three-year self-assessment process, “CALEA accreditation represents a significant professional achievement and is confirmation that the La Plata Police Department practices are consistent with progressive professional policing. This accreditation validates the high standards we hold our personnel to and is aligned with nationally accepted best practices.”

The CALEA accreditation process is a proven modern management model; once implemented, it presents the chief of police, on a continuing basis, with a blueprint that promotes the efficient use of resources and improves service delivery—regardless of the size, geographic location, or functional responsibilities of the agency.

This accreditation program provides public safety agencies an opportunity to voluntarily demonstrate that they meet an established set of professional standards which:

• Require an agency to develop a comprehensive, well thought out, 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.

• Provide the necessary reports and analyses a chief of police needs to make fact-based, informed management decisions.

• Require a preparedness program be put in place—so an agency is ready to address natural or man-made critical incidents.

• Are a means for developing or improving upon an agency’s relationship with the community.

• Strengthen an agency’s accountability, both within the agency and the community, through a continuum of standards that clearly define authority, performance, and responsibilities