SPD seeking national accreditation

Posted at 1:32 PM on Aug 6, 2017

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BY MIKE FUHRMAN

A team from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc. (CALEA) began a three-day, on-site assessment of the Statesville Police Department on Sunday.

The site visit includes a public hearing at 4 p.m. Monday at the SPD in which residents were invited to express their views on the SPD’s ability to meet CALEA’s standards. Public comments can also be made in writing. (See Related article: http://svlfreenews.com/news/assessment-team-invites-public-comment-spds-ability-meet-standards)

During their visit, the assessors will continue their evaluation of the SPD’s ability to adhere to 189 standards covering more than 500 policy areas.

The assessors, retired police chiefs from Ohio and Georgia, will attend shift briefings, observe officers as they work in the community, and evaluate the department’s equipment, communications center, handling of evidence and more.

Prior to the visit, CALEA assessors completed an exhaustive review of SPD policies and more than 1,200 supporting documents. The process comes on the heels of a two-year process in which the department has rewritten the entire policy manual.

“We have to prove we’re doing what we say we’re doing,” explained Sgt. Charlie Rambo, who has spearheaded the accreditation effort.

This is the first time the SPD has sought accreditation from the national commission. The process cost the city $10,100 for enrollment and $5,500 for the on-site assessment. Once the SPD is accredited, the annual cost will be $4,065, which includes an annual review. Subsequent site visits will be required every four years.

Police Chief Joe Barone said that the work overhauling the policy manual and accreditation process is part of the department’s commitment to providing a high level of professional service.

“The police department we have in 2017 is different than it was two years ago,” he said. “The agency has grown and evolved. … We always want to look at being better.”

Jennifer Harris, the accreditation manager for the Mooresville Police Department since 2013 and a veteran of two CALEA site visits, has helped guide SPD officials through the process. She previously helped law enforcement agencies in Huntersville, Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Gastonia, Kannapolis and Conover.

The SPD “has worked really hard to make sure they meet these standards,” Harris said. “They were already doing a lot of things they needed to do to be in compliance. They didn’t need to change a lot of things.”

Barone expressed his gratitude to Harris and Mooresville Police Chief Damon Williams for their assistance in the effort.

“MPD has been a great partner in this,” he said. “We will be eternally grateful for it.”

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