Law enforcement accreditation is a progressive and time-proven method of periodic evaluation to improve delivery of law enforcement service by offering a body of standards, developed by law enforcement practitioners, covering a wide range of up-to-date law enforcement topics. To become accredited, an agency must undergo an extensive examination of its policies, procedures and physical layout conducted by a panel of police experts. Since receiving its first Certificate of Accreditation from the K.A.C.P. Law Enforcement Accreditation Program in November 1997, the Owensboro Police Department was re-accredited in 2008. Lt. Tim Clothier, an 19 year veteran of the Owensboro Police Department, heads the accreditation process by continuously reviewing existing policy to ensure compliance with K.A.C.P. standards, and making recommendations for policy revision to the OPD Command Staff as necessary.
Benefits of Law Enforcement Accreditation
- Accreditation demonstrates the commitment of the agency to professionalism in terms of adherence to a body of standards.
- Accreditation assures the community that its law enforcement agency is committed to high quality service and that its policies and procedures are effective and responsive on the one hand and fair and equitable on the other.
- Accreditation requires an in-depth review of every aspect of an agency’s organization, management, operations, and administration including:
- Establishment of agency goals and objectives with provision for periodic updating.
- Re-evaluation of whether agency resources are being used in accord with agency goals, objective and mission.
- Re-evaluation of agency policies and procedures especially as documented in the agency’s written directives system.
- Correction of deficiencies before they become public problems.
- Accreditation standards provide norms against which agency performance can be measured and monitored over time.
- Accreditation provides the agency an opportunity to participate in the development of new or revised standards.
- Accreditation provides recognition that the agency’s managerial and operational policies and procedures are in accord with a body of professional standards.
- Accreditation assures that agency policies and procedures are in written form and available to all agency personnel.
- Accreditation assures personnel that every aspect of the agency’s personnel system is in accord with professional standards and that it is both fair and equitable.
- Accreditation enhances the morale of the agency by increasing the confidence of employees in the effectiveness and efficiency of their own agency.
- Accreditation reduces the likelihood of vicarious liability suits against the agency.
- Accredited status makes it easier for agencies to purchase police liability insurance; allows agencies to increase the limit of their insurance coverage more easily; in many cases, results in lower premiums.