Police departments are organized and ordered, but there’s always room for improvement – and that’s where CALEA comes in. CALEA, or Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc., was created in 1979 with a goal to make public safety agencies more efficient.
How does it work?
CALEA has different accreditation programs, including:
- Public Safety Communications Accreditation Program
- Public Safety Training Academy Accreditation Program
- CALEA Campus Security Accreditation Program
- CALEA Agency Support Program
The Commission’s primary program, however, is the Law Enforcement Accreditation Program. These programs enact certain standards for a law enforcement agency. These standards address the major subjects of law enforcement, like:
- Role, responsibilities, and relationships with other agencies
- Personnel structure
- Personnel process
- Organization, management, and administration
- Law enforcement and traffic operations
- Operations support
CALEA offers two tiers of law enforcement accreditation. Agencies may participate in either CALEA Law Enforcement Accreditation or CALEA Advanced Law Enforcement Accreditation. Agencies do not have to be a particular size to participate in either of these tiered programs.
To help law enforcement agencies meet these standards, public safety practitioners conduct an internal review and assessment of an agency overall. This review and assessment includes an agency’s policies and procedures. After a careful evaluation of an agency, CALEA staff make modifications and improvements to an agency in an effort to reach these standards.
How does an agency become accredited?
For an agency to acquire CALEA Accreditation, an agency must meet certain criteria that is approved by CALEA. If an agency is interested in voluntarily demonstrating a commitment to law enforcement excellence, the first step is enrollment. An agency can download or request an enrollment package, which consists of an enrollment form, law enforcement accreditation agreement, and publications subscription and access agreement.
After enrollment, the next steps include a self-assessment, followed by an on-site assessment. During the self-assessment, agencies have 36 months to comply with standards, develop proofs of compliance, and prepare for the on-site assessment.
A CALEA assessment coordinator will arrive at the agency for an on-site assessment. The coordinator and other assessors will report their findings to the Commission for review. The Commission then reviews an agency’s ability to meet standards and maintain compliance. If deemed accredited, an agency receives a letter conferring accredited status for three years. To stay accredited, an agency must maintain compliance. This maintenance includes, up-to-date proofs, as well as annual submissions to CALEA of free and Agency Status Report.
CALEA Accreditation programs were developed to enhance law enforcement as a profession. Through the process, law enforcement agencies can increase crime prevention, improve community confidence, strengthen interagency relations, and establish management procedures.
Learn more about reaching “the gold standard in public safety”, by visiting the CALEA website here.