At-Large Springfield City Councilor Jesse Lederman, a member of the City Council’s Public Safety Committee, is urging the Springfield Police Department to pursue independent state and national accreditation in the wake of several incidents that have called into question the policies and procedures of the department.
“It is essential to public safety and the safety of our officers that our Police Department adheres to rigorous national best practices,” said Councilor Lederman “I believe that our city would benefit immensely by going through the accreditation process, and taking advantage of the consistent independent evaluation that comes with such an accreditation.”
“The vast majority of our police officers are committed to protecting and serving the residents of our neighborhoods,” continued Lederman, “they encounter dangerous and unpredictable situations every day, we owe it to them to ensure that best practices are being abided by.”
Police Departments can voluntarily participate in a state accreditation program through the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission (MPAC) and a national accreditation program through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). Those Commissions are made up of local, state, national, and international law enforcement and civilian public safety professionals.
The processes require departments to participate in self-evaluations and independent outside evaluations to install nationally recognized best practices with regard to the agencies policies and procedures. Evaluation is on-going as the department works to maintain its accreditation every three years.
The state process includes 257 standards and the national process includes 205 standards.
Only a small percentage of Police Departments in the United States are nationally accredited.
“We should be holding ourselves to the highest possible standard,” said Councilor Lederman “In pursuing this process we can set that standard for the future and guarantee the public and our officers that we are continuously striving to uphold nationally recognized best practices in law enforcement.”
Councilor Lederman raised the issue of accreditation at the Council's Public Safety Committee meeting today. He will continue to pursue the issue this year.