The Arvada Police Department was the first Colorado law enforcement agency to be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) in 1986. Since then, Arvada has been re-accredited an unprecedented ten times.
What is Accreditation?
The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA) provides credentialing services for law enforcement and other public safety agencies. Arvada was the first agency in Colorado to be accredited and in 2016, received its 10th straight accreditation.
CALEA was established for two reasons: to develop a set of law enforcement standards and to establish and administer an accreditation process through which law enforcement agencies could demonstrate voluntarily that they meet professionally recognized criteria for excellence in management and service delivery.
The credentialing process is a proven modern management tool that provides the police chief with a blueprint for the most efficient use of resources and best delivery of police services.
CALEA was created through the joint efforts of law enforcement's major executive associations:
- International Association of Chief's of Police (IACP),
- National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE),
- National Sheriff's Association (NSA),
- the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF)
Police Departments must meet 483 professional standards to be accredited. The accreditation program improves the delivery of police-related services by offering a body of standards for law enforcement agencies to follow.
In addition to the recognition of obtaining international excellence, there are additional benefits accreditation provides.
- Controls liability insurance costs
- Maximizes the effectiveness of the department's administrative efforts
- Increases the accountability of police department members to the public
How Accreditation Works
The Arvada Police Department's accreditation manager maintains hundreds of files to show compliance with standards set by CALEA. During the re-accreditation cycle (every three years), a review team from CALEA visits the police department to conduct an on-site evaluation. This team - usually comprised of two people with law enforcement backgrounds - reviews files, talks with members of the department, evaluates officers in their working environment and obtains comments from citizens regarding the delivery of police service. Once the team completes a report summarizing its findings, a recommendation for accreditation or re-accreditation is made.
Members of the Arvada Police Department are then invited to attend a CALEA conference where another panel of CALEA members evaluates the report and asks additional questions of the accreditation manager and police chief. The final decision is then made to grant re-accreditation status.
Accreditation is another way that the Arvada Police Department demonstrates its commitment to the community and the citizens we serve.