Accreditation assessment team invites public comment

Published 5:17 pm Tuesday, August 8, 2006

This weekend will determine whether Picayune will have a nationally accredited Police Department, to prepare the department conducted a mock assessment Monday morning.

Some of the department’s vehicles were lined up to simulate what will happen Sunday morning when the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc. conduct their inspection, said former police chief Brenda Smith. All vehicle doors were opened along with trunks with the respective officer standing next to their vehicle in proper dress.

The official assessment will be conducted from Sunday morning until Wednesday when the local law enforcement agency will have its equipment and department ready for inspection, Smith said. The department’s various uniforms also will undergo inspection, said Deputy Chief Tom Milar.

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Staff and equipment will be inspected Sunday morning and a community meeting will be held Monday night. The rest of the time the agency will spend on file inspection and department assessment, Smith said.

Two chiefs and a sergeant from outside police departments will conduct and turn in their assessment to the Commission on Accredidation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc., Smith said. The assessors are Ronald Moser, John Moss and Richard Bens, according to a release from the Picayune Police Dept.

Milar said this past weekend’s mock assessment went well with only a few minor things to iron out.

The team of assessors from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc. will arrive in Picayune on Saturday to examine all aspects of the Picayune Police Department policy and procedures and management.

Verification by the team would mean the Picayune Police Department meets the commission’s state-of- the-art standards, which is part of a voluntary process to achieve accreditation. Accreditation is a highly prized recognition of law enforcement professional excellence, according to a release from the Picayune Police Department.

As a part of the on-site assessment, agency employees and members of the community are invited to offer comments at a public information session at 7 p.m. Monday. The session will be in the Picayune City Council’s Chambers in the former Arizona Chemical building at 815 N. Beech St., the release states.

Those who are unable to speak at the public information session but would like to provide comments to the assessment team, may call 601-798-2594 from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday.

Telephone comments, as well as comments made at the public information session, are limited to 10 minutes and must address the agency’s ability to comply with CALEA standards. The standards are available to the public at the Picayune Police Department, accreditation office. Local contact is Brenda Smith or Tommy Dyle, accreditation managers. Their phone number is 601-798-0374.

Anyone wishing to offer written comments about the Picayune Police Department’s ability to meet the standards may send them to Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA), 10306 Eaton Place, Suite 320, Fairfax, VA 22030-2201.

The Picayune Police Department has to comply with approximately 464 standards in order to gain accredited status, the release states. The citizens of Picayune will benefit from the accreditation process by having a police department that has obtained national recognition for its professionalism, the release states.

Once the commission’s assessors complete their review of the agency, they report back to the full commission, which will then decide if the agency is to be granted accredited status.

For more information regarding the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc., write the Field Operations Division, 10306 Eaton Place, Suite 320, Fairfax, Virginia 22030-2201 or call (800) 368-3757 or (703) 352-4225.