Buffalo State’s University Police Department recently earned accreditation from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services Accreditation Council, joining only six other accredited SUNY police departments. Statewide, only 25 percent of all police departments are accredited.
Accreditation is a progressive and contemporary way for police agencies to evaluate and improve their overall performance. It provides formal recognition that an organization meets or exceeds general expectations of quality in the field. Accreditation acknowledges the implementation of policies that are conceptually sound and operationally effective.
"It's not an easy process," said University Police Chief Peter M. Carey. "We worked for 16 months to prepare for the assessment."
Three police officers who are trained assessors from accredited police departments visited the campus for a three-day assessment in April. The council awarded the accreditation to Buffalo State on June 14.
The New York State Accreditation Program became operational in 1989 and has four principle goals:
- To increase the effectiveness and efficiency of law enforcement agencies using existing personnel, equipment, and facilities to the largest extent possible
- To promote increased cooperation and coordination among law enforcement agencies and other criminal justice servicing agencies;
- To ensure the appropriate training of law enforcement personnel
- To promote public confidence.
To attain accreditation, a police department must fulfill 133 standards divided among three categories: administrative, training, and operational. Standards in the administrative section have provisions for such topics as agency organization, fiscal management, personnel practices, and records. Training standards encompass basic and in-service instruction, as well as training for supervisors and specialized or technical assignments. Operational standards deal with such critical and litigious issues as high-speed pursuits, roadblocks, patrol, and unusual occurrences.
"Becoming accredited benefits our department and Buffalo State in that we know we are operating with the current best practices," Carey said. "Members of the University Police Department have a strong commitment to professionalism and the desire to provide the best possible police services to the Buffalo State campus community."
The accreditation lasts for five years. At that time, the University Police Department must undergo a re-accreditation assessment, which Carey said can be more difficult than the initial one because everything that was achieved must be maintained and followed through for the entire five-year period.
"When you consider only 25 percent of police departments are accredited, it’s a significant accomplishment, Carey said. "At the same time, there is a lot of responsibility that goes along with being an accredited police department."