Police Chief Terry Young is pleased to announce that the Surprise Police Department has once again successfully completed a multi-year process designed to recognize professionalism in law enforcement through achievement of national accredited status with the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA®).
The Surprise Police Department received their initial accreditation on November 17, 2007, and received three subsequent reaccreditations in November of 2010, 2013, and 2016. On November 13, 2020, the Surprise Police Department was awarded their fifth accreditation from CALEA.
Agencies receive their accreditation awards after participating in a 4-year process that involves a commitment of personnel and other resources. During this period, all aspects of the agency’s policies, procedures, management, operations, and support services undergo a comprehensive examination. Each agency conducts a detailed self-assessment and participates in an on-site review by a team of outside CALEA assessors composed of experienced law enforcement professionals. Additionally, agencies notify their local community of the reaccreditation process to offer community members an opportunity to provide their comments and observations. On August 3-5, 2020, CALEA assessors conducted a virtual review of the Surprise Police Department, and on November 13, 2020, the Surprise Police Department received their fifth award of national accreditation, via a virtual CALEA Commission Hearing.
The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc., (CALEA®) was created in 1979 as a credentialing authority through the joint efforts of law enforcement's major executive associations: International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP); National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE); National Sheriffs' Association (NSA); and the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF).
The purpose of CALEA’s accreditation programs is to improve the delivery of public safety services, primarily by maintaining a body of standards developed by public safety practitioners, covering a wide range of up-to-date public safety initiatives; establishing and administering an accreditation process; and recognizing professional excellence.
Specifically, CALEA’s goals are to strengthen crime prevention and control capabilities; formalize essential management procedures; establish fair and nondiscriminatory personnel practices; improve service delivery; solidify interagency cooperation and coordination; and increase community and staff confidence in the agency.
Benefits of Accreditation
- Controlled Liability Insurance Costs - Accredited status makes it easier for agencies to purchase liability insurance; allows agencies to increase the limit of their insurance coverage more easily; and, in many cases, results in lower premiums.
- Stronger Defense against Lawsuits and Citizen Complaints - Accredited agencies are better able to defend themselves against lawsuits and citizen complaints. Many agencies report a decline in legal actions against them once they become accredited.
- Greater Accountability Within the Agency - Accreditation standards give the Chief Executive Officer a proven management system of written directives, sound training, clearly defined lines of authority, and routine reports that support decision-making and resource allocation.
- Staunch Support from Government Officials - Accreditation provides objective evidence of an agency’s commitment to excellence in leadership, resource management, and service-delivery. Thus, government officials are more confident in the agency’s ability to operate efficiently and meet community needs.
- Increased Community Advocacy - Accreditation embodies the precepts of community-oriented policing. It creates a forum in which police and citizens work together to prevent and control crime. This partnership helps citizens understand the challenges confronting law enforcement and gives law enforcement clear direction about community expectations.
- Improved Employee Morale - Accreditation is a coveted award that symbolizes professionalism, excellence, and competence. It requires written directives and training to inform employees about policies and practices; facilities and equipment to ensure employee safety; and processes to safeguard employee rights. Employees take pride in their agency, knowing it represents the very best in public safety.
The CALEA accreditation process has proven to be of great benefit to both the agency and the community. It requires that the agency conform to procedures that are consistent with internationally recognized, progressive law enforcement standards. This is the foundation for competent, responsible, and ethical service to the public. It also requires the agency to take a thorough, introspective look at its mission, objectives, and operation. This results in a process of evaluation that allows the agency to revise its strategic plan in order to respond to the needs of an ever-changing community.
Accreditation is a key component in any law enforcement agency’s ability to perform in the present and plan for the future, and it has proven to be an effective and innovative management model. Because “We are YOUR Police,” the men and women of the Surprise Police Department are committed to maintaining the highest standards of professionalism in law enforcement and providing the community with exceptional police services. The Surprise Police Department voluntarily participates in the law enforcement accreditation process and will continue to do so into the future.