By Nicholas Lawrence
The Savannah Chatham Metropolitan Police Department had its accreditation reinstated last week by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, or CALEA, as it’s called. Julian Miller, the Public Affairs Administrator of the Police Department, explains what this accreditation means.
[MILLER] “We still need this level of sophistication because the public needs to know it has a department that meets all the criteria it should be meeting and is highly trained, has all the protocols down, that everyone knows exactly what needs to be done, and how it’s supposed to be done in every case. It helps the public understand what is going on in the police department, and that everything that is done here is done for a purpose.”
This accreditation is important, he says, for public perception of the department, and lawsuits for example. People will feel more comfortable with a department that is accredited from an international organization. It bares more weight. You can learn more about the process of accreditation at calea.org, but he continues in more detail. Listen.
[MILLER] “CALEA does not just approach a department and say hey we’re going to accredit you. It has to be an application process and an awful lot of intensive work has to go into getting that accreditation. They do make sure that you have fulfilled all the necessary obligations to be one of the top law enforcement agencies in the country. They inspect every law enforcement agency that applies for this to make sure that all the standards are up to date, training is up to date, that all the protocols are in writing and everyone knows the protocols, that the department has a level of professionalism that is second to none. “
Well, the accreditation was reinstated, which means that it once was recessed. Julian explains why the SCMPD’s accreditation by CALEA is just now being reinstated since 2008.
[MILLER] “It was lost in a previous administration when they were reorganizing a lot of people. They were taking sworn officers who were working in the office and putting them on the streets to try to enhance the number of people in the street. And that chief decided at that moment that it was not a good time to be trying to fulfill the accreditation, and that the value of the accreditation was not as great as the cost. This chief disagreed, the mayor at the time, Mayor Johnson, disagreed and they went back to get the accreditation reinstated. We think it’s important.”
Julian Miller said that they passed with flying colors. So the next time you see a SCMPD officer hand out a ticket, you can know he or she is apart of an accredited police department. Savvy in Savannah, this has been Nick Lawrence reporting for District.