RICHMOND — The Virginia State Police has been awarded national accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc.
In 1986, the Virginia State Police was the second state police agency in the nation to achieve accreditation through CALEA. CALEA accreditation serves as the foundation for a successful, well-managed, transparent, community-focused law enforcement agency.
On Nov. 13, Virginia State Police was awarded this honor for the 10th time. The 2020 CALEA Commission’s Final Assessment Report on the Virginia State Police is available online at www.vsp.virginia.gov/accreditation.shtm.
“This is a proud moment for the Department of State Police,” said Col. Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police superintendent. “Our employees work hard each and every day to best serve and protect Virginia. Achieving this accreditation reinforces our commitment to not just do our job well, but to consistently go above and beyond in public service to others. We do this not for ourselves, but for those living, working and traveling in Virginia. So that those who need us can rest assured that when one calls upon the Virginia State Police, we are there to provide the exceptional service one expects and deserves.”
The CALEA process involves a voluntary, multi-year self-assessment phase and then a meticulous site-based assessment of community engagements, policy, procedures, equipment and facilities by CALEA assessors. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the panel of independent assessors also conducted remote, web-based file reviews with state police personnel, as well as conducted the public comment session virtually via social media platforms in August.
“I commend Virginia State Police for once again earning this esteemed recognition,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran. “Virginia State Police leadership specifically requested the CALEA assessors to focus on the department’s practices and policies related to use of force investigations, civil disturbance deployment, administrative investigations and recruitment directives.”
In the final report, the CALEA assessors lauded the Department for its thorough and current practices and training related to civil disturbance response and use of force incidents, innovative recruitment strategies, and effective, efficient proficiencies related to internal administrative investigations.
Achieving CALEA accreditation benefits include greater accountability within an agency, as accreditation standards provide a proven management system of written directives, sound training, clearly defined lines of authority, and routine reports that support decision-making and resource allocation. Accredited status increases community advocacy as it embodies the precepts of community-oriented policing. It creates a forum in which police and citizens work together to prevent and control crime. This partnership helps citizens understand the challenges confronting law enforcement and gives law enforcement clear direction about community expectations. Accreditation also aids in improved employee morale as it symbolizes professionalism, excellence and competence among its personnel. It requires written directives and training to inform employees about policies and practices; facilities and equipment to ensure employee safety; and processes to safeguard employee rights. Employees take pride in their agency, knowing it represents the very best in public safety.
“The CALEA award of accreditation does not come easy,” said CALEA President Anthony Purcell, chief of police, University of Alabama at Birmingham Police Department. “Agencies must go through a rigorous review and evaluation of their organization and then implement the necessary policy and procedure changes. The process does not stop at that point. By voluntarily choosing to seek CALEA accreditation, the agency commits to an ongoing review of adherence to CALEA’s standards. With the Virginia State Police being a CALEA accredited agency, Virginians should feel confident that this statewide agency is going above and beyond and operating under the highest standards in public safety.”
The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies was created in 1979 as a credentialing authority through the joint efforts of law enforcement’s major executive associations: International Association of Chiefs of Police; National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives; National Sheriffs’ Association; and the Police Executive Research Forum.