On Thursday February 14, 2013, the Bridgewater Township Police Department achieved “Police Agency Accreditation” through the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police and CALEA (The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies). This achievement culminates three years of preparation by Bridgewater Police Department personnel, specifically the designed Accreditation Manager Sergeant Stephen Jurczak. Accreditation requires compliance with the one hundred and twelve professional standards mandated by the Accreditation Board of Review. The review also includes an assessment of the police department’s physical facility, which includes detention holding areas, arrest processing facilities, interview rooms and the evidence storage vault. The final on-site evaluation for the Police Department was conducted on November 18th and 19th of 2012. During the final review two trained assessors appointed by the Accreditation Commission remain at the Police Department and conduct the assessment for two full days. The assessors interview officers and supervisors, inspect the facility and review numerous policies to verify that applicable standards have been successfully implemented.
Accreditation is a progressive and time-proven method of assisting law enforcement agencies assess and improve their overall performances. The foundation of Accreditation lies in the adoption of standards containing a clear statement of professional objectives. Accreditation status represents a significant professional achievement. Accreditation acknowledges the implementation of policies and procedures that are supportive of these objectives, conceptually sound and operationally effective.
Accreditation can also limit an agency’s liability and risk exposure by demonstrating internationally recognized standards for law enforcement have been met, as verified by a team of independent outside CALEA-trained assessors. Accreditation strengthens an agency’s accountability, both within the agency responsibilities.
The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) was created in 1979 as a credentialing authority through the joint efforts of law enforcement’s major executive associations which include:
- International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)
- National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE)
- National Sheriff’s Association (NSA)
- Police Executive Research Forum (PERF)