UAPD look to renew accreditation
A University of Arizona Police Department officer makes a call while standing by near the Koffler building on the UA campus.
University of Arizona Police Department will undergo the process of re-accreditation this week. A private law enforcement accreditation agency, Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc., will be on campus conducting the observation.
CALEA will be observing and evaluating UAPD on their operational readiness, officer safety, and whether policies and procedures are consistent with modern professional policing standards.
Accreditation for UAPD occurs every three years. The process of re-accreditation lasts a few months, depending on how intense the observation is, according to UAPD Crime Prevention Officer, Rene Hernandez, “CALEA sends a representative to come study our policies and procedures and make sure we meet CALEA’s standards as far as our behavior on the job.”
Individual officers are also subject to independent, one-on-one talks with evaluators. “They also interview our officers and observe them while they are on the job. Then, we receive a report from CALEA in March, informing us on whether we got re-accredited or not and a summary of our performance,” Hernandez said.
UAPD achieved its first CALEA Accreditation Award in 1993 when UAPD became one of only five university police departments in the nation to receive National Accreditation.
The department goes through accreditation voluntarily to ensure that they are doing their jobs to the best of their ability for the public. “We feel like accreditation holds us to a higher standard and better ensures ourselves the public that we are doing our jobs the best we can…this puts us on the cusp of policing and what the best practices are to better serve our public,” Hernandez said.
Many institutions throughout the country do not voluntarily put themselves through the accreditation process, but UAPD believes that it also increases community confidence in the policies and practices of an agency.
But what happens if the police department does not perform to CALEA’s standards? “Accreditation just shows that we have pride in what we do and proves that we go above and beyond in our line of work. We haven’t lost our accreditation since we began this process in 1993, so we are confident that we will continue to meet CALEA’s standards and continue serving the public in the best way possible,” Hernandez said.
Accreditation does not just affect the department, it also affects the students of The University of Arizona. “This process shows UA students our transparency as an active police department and we are holding ourselves to the highest standard possible to serve the students in our community,” says Hernandez.
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