When one thinks of law enforcement, they probably think of the Hollywood stereotype: the guns blazing, the car chases, or the K-9 hot on the heels of a perp. But behind the scenes, there’s obviously much more to it than that.
“I can talk about how great our department is until I’m blue in the face,” Southlake Police Chief James Brandon said, “but our Gold Standard accreditation proves it.”
That form of verification comes from CALEA, the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, whose motto is “the gold standard in public safety.” And on Saturday, March 24th, the Southlake Police Department received their 6th reaccreditation, extending their streak to 21 years in a row.
“It’s a huge accomplishment,” Chief Brandon said. “Not every police department is capable of achieving accreditation, let alone for 21 years.”
Being accredited by CALEA helps provide consistency and training guidelines for officers for everything they do, from a routine traffic stop to a major incident. Agencies must submit proof of compliance in either written documentation, video, or photographs. For instance, one proof focuses on property room security—that every piece of evidence must be properly secured, correctly identified, and that the property room must be secure and available only to law enforcement or specially designated civilians. The department would need to document and send proof of their compliance to CALEA, who then reviews it and eventually comes to verify everything in person. That’s just one of over a thousand proofs needed to be accredited.
Of all the police agencies in the United States, only about 1,100 to 1,200 are accredited by CALEA.
Being a police officer in today’s society is difficult, and with ever evolving ways of policing and technological advancements in body cameras and microphones, policies need to be in place how to best handle it all for the safety of officers and the public they serve. Accreditation shows that departments are using the best practices in handling day to day policing from minor to major incidents, and Southlake is honored to continue this professional excellence.