The granting of approval to an institution by an official review board, after the institution has demonstrated, in policy and practice, that it adheres to and is in compliance with specific professional requirements.
“Accreditation is the benchmark by which professional police agencies are measured. Achieving accreditation was not easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is. The net result of the accreditation process is better people - better productivity - better public safety service. And public service is why we exist. The award of accreditation is a source of pride for all members of this agency and, most importantly, it assures the citizens of Salina that their police department adheres to the highest professional standards in the delivery of police service.” Chief James Hill
The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA) was established as an independent accrediting authority in 1979 by the four major law enforcement membership associations: The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP); The National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE); The National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA); and The Police Executive Research Forum (PERF). The Executive Directors of these four associations appoint members to the Commission.
CALEA Commission and Staff
The CALEA Commission is comprised of twenty-one Commissioners, eleven of which are law enforcement practitioners, and ten from the public or private sector. CALEA has an Executive Director, which oversees a staff in Alexandria, Virginia. The CALEA staff conducts all of the administrative and operational duties as directed by the Commissioners.
Purpose for Accreditation
The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies has an overall purpose, which is designed to improve the delivery of law enforcement services primarily through the law enforcement agency accreditation program, which is organized and maintained in the public interest.
CALEA selects the team of trained assessors, and schedules the on-site assessment. The assessors complete a very thorough assessment and inspection of the Salina Police Department, which includes such things as a static display of vehicles and equipment, a comprehensive tour of the facility, interviews with department personnel, panel reviews, patrol officer ride-a longs, a public telephone call in session, an open public meeting, and very extensive file reviews to make certain that the Department is in compliance with all of the applicable CALEA standards.
Upon completion of the three-day on-site assessment, the assessors prepare a very detailed report to CALEA, which is then reviewed by the Commissioners. Comments from past on site reports stated: "The employees are professional, enthusiastic, dedicated and very well trained."
After the on-site assessment, the Chief and the Department’s accreditation team are invited to a CALEA Conference to appear before a sub-committee of four Commissioners. The Chief and the Accreditation team are asked questions pertaining to the Department, and comments are made about subjects gleaned from the Assessors report.
At the conclusion of the hearing the four Commissioners will recommend to the full commission that the Salina Police Department either shall or shall not be re-accredited.
In the evening Chief Hill and the Accreditation team attend a banquet where several hundred law enforcement officials representing agencies across the nation and Canada attend along with the CALEA staff and full Commission.
At the banquet, the Commission Chair and Executive Director of CALEA recognize those agencies found to have met all of the applicable standards for initial or re-accreditation by conferring the prestigious accreditation award for a period of three years.
The Department received initial accreditation in March 1996 and that award was valid for five years.
Once the agency is accredited it must maintain compliance, and the agency submits annual reports to CALEA in regards to the compliance issues. The process then repeats again in three years.
The Salina Police Department was re-accredited in 2001, 2004, 2007, and 2010. On March 25, 2013 the department receieved it's sixth accreditation award.
It is not an easy task to be recognized by CALEA as a professional agency. It takes significant effort and department-wide commitment to achieve this coveted status. There are many written standards that the Commission addresses and the Salina Police Department must prove to the Commission that the agency is in compliance with all applicable standards.
The Policies and Procedures of the Salina Police Department are designed to meet the standards set forth by the Commission, but yet are very specific to the needs of the Department and are a detailed and concise way of conducting the daily business of the Department.
In order to obtain initial accreditation and for each re-accredited time period, the Salina Police Department continually reviews policy and procedure through self-assessment. The Department must continue to develop proofs of compliance and document that compliance for each of the applicable CALEA standards.