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Columbia Police Department Maintains National Accreditation by CALEA

The Columbia Police Department (CPD) was awarded national accreditation on April 2, 2022 by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEAÒ) in the Law Enforcement Accreditation Program. CPD was first accredited in 2017.

Following a multi-year self-assessment phase and a meticulous site-based assessment of community engagement, policy, procedures, equipment, operations, management and facilities by CALEA assessors, Chief Holbrook and the CPD accreditation team attended the CALEA conference in Orlando, Florida to meet with commissioners. Each agency being reviewed goes before the CALEA’s 21-member Board of Commissions where the commission reviews all findings and determines the agencies’ accreditation status.

CPD and participating law enforcement agencies were presented to CALEA’s 21-member Board of Commissioners. The commission reviewed all findings and determined the agencies’ accreditation status. Law enforcement executives and major law enforcement associations acknowledge CALEA’s Standards for Law Enforcement Agencies and accreditation programs as best practices or benchmarks.

Mayor Daniel Rickenmann says, “We are proud of our Police Department and the hard work of Chief Holbrook to maintain our CALEA Accreditation here in the Columbia. By giving our law enforcement the training and equipment they need, we can help them continue to make our city safer.”

Chief Holbrook says, “The reaccreditation status is another defining moment for our agency made possible by the dedicated men and women who make up the Columbia Police Department. This award confirms our continued commitment to policing excellence and professionalism.”

By voluntarily choosing to seek CALEA reaccreditation, CPD has committed to an ongoing review of adherence to CALEA’s standards. CPD now moves into CALEA’s four-year Accreditation cycle that includes four annual remote, web-based file reviews and a site-based assessment in the fourth year.

CPD’s Accreditation History:

The process for the prestigious accreditation status was extensive, comprehensive and voluntary. To achieve this accreditation, the Columbia Police Department had to demonstrate compliance with approximately 460 national standards.

Benefits of Accreditation

Greater Accountability Within the Agency – Accreditation standards give the Chief Executive Officer a proven management system of written directives, sound training, clearly defined lines of authority, and routine reports that support decision-making and resource allocation.

Increases Community Advocacy – Accreditation 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.

Improved Employee Morale – Accreditation is a coveted award that symbolizes professionalism, excellence, and competence. 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.

Staunch Support from Government Officials – Accreditation provides objective evidence of an agency’s commitment to excellence in leadership, resource management, and service-delivery. Thus, government officials are more confident in the agency’s ability to operate efficiently and meet community needs.

Controlled Liability Insurance Costs – Accredited status makes it easier for agencies to purchase liability insurance; allows agencies to increase the limit of their insurance coverage more easily; and, in many cases, results in lower premiums.

Stronger Defense against Lawsuits and Citizen Complaints – Accredited agencies are better able to defend themselves against lawsuits and citizen complaints. Many agencies report a decline in legal actions against them once they become accredited.

CALEA History:

The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc., (CALEA®) 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 (IACP)
    • National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE)
    • National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA)
    • Police Executive Research Forum (PERF)

The purpose of the Commission is to develop standards based on international best practices in public safety, and to establish and administer the accreditation process. The accreditation process is how a public safety agency voluntarily demonstrates how it meets professionally recognized criteria for excellence in management and service delivery.

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