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Accreditation and the Summerville Police Department

The Summerville Police Department was granted re-accredited status by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Accreditation, Inc. (SCLEA) on December 11, 2015 at a ceremony held at the South Carolina Sheriff’s Association in Columbia, SC.

In the detailed summary of the recent on-site inspection, the assessors wrote:

“The Summerville PD is a professional law enforcement agency dedicated to providing superior law enforcement services to its community. The Chief and his staff demonstrate the professionalism that is desired from the community it serves. The agency continues to seek ways to exceed the best practices of law enforcement. One of the areas that Summerville PD excels in is the Patrol area. Summerville PD is a 24-hour fully functional law enforcement agency. The department has in place and adheres to policies and procedures for use of force, pursuits, and general patrol procedures. All use of force incidents and pursuit incidents are reviewed by command staff. One is left with the impression that all officers are expected to walk the walk and talk the talk. Officers that the assessment team interviewed and spent time with seem to be disciplined, well trained, professional, and very happy. This speaks volumes to the leadership of Chief Owens and his leadership team.

Jessica Wells, the department Accreditation Manager, did a very good job of preparing the agency and constructing her files for this on-site visit. There were a few minor Applied Discretions, and File Maintenance issues that were discovered during this on-site visit. All files requiring maintenance issues were resolved prior to the end of the on-site visit.

The assessment team is convinced that Chief Owens and the entire Summerville PD is putting forth a full faith effort to raise the standards of law enforcement in their community.”

Jessica Wells currently serves as the Department’s Accreditation Manager.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Accreditation program managed and directed by the governing council of South Carolina Law Enforcement Accreditation, Inc, (SCLEA) is based upon the processes prescribed by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA) for national accreditation. The standards parallel those of national accreditation, but with a South Carolina flavor. The Program is designed to provide a basis from which a participating agency may seek national accreditation, if desired

GOALS OF S.C.L.E.A.

• Strengthen crime prevention and control capabilities

• Formalize essential management procedures

• Establish fair and nondiscriminatory personnel practices

• Improve service delivery

• Boost citizen and staff confidence in the agency

BENEFITS OF S.C.L.E.A.

• Greater Accountability Within the Agency

Accreditation standards give the agency a proven management system of written directives, sound training, and clearly defined lines of authority, and routine reports that support decision-making.

• 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.

• 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.

· Controlled Liability Insurance Loss

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.

• Increased 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 challenges confronting law enforcement and provides clear direction about community expectation.

• Improves 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 employees’ safety; and processes to safeguard employees’ rights. Employees take pride in their department, knowing it represents the very best in law enforcement.

Achieving and maintaining accreditation status is a process, which must include the entire agency. Although relatively few police department members are responsible for developing and reviewing department policies, all employees can have input into the process. Supervisors and affected personnel are asked for their input on policy creation and updating. Additionally, any employee can make suggestions at any time regarding written directives or operation of the Summerville Police Department.

All members of the Summerville Police Department, likewise, have responsibilities regarding accreditation. All employees are responsible for being familiar with written directives. Officers and

supervisors with areas of special responsibilities must be thoroughly familiar with the accreditation standards, which cover their areas of responsibility and ensure that we are complying with the standards.

Here are some guidelines of responsibility for all Officers:

• Be familiar with policies and procedures, especially operational and high liability policies;

• Strive to follow policies and procedures in good faith;

• Notify supervision of any problems or concerns regarding operations or policies and procedures;

• Be familiar with the accreditation process and take pride in this achievement.

The Accreditation Process

The two main components of accreditation are written directives and proofs of compliance.

Written Directives: Any written document used to guide or affect the performance or conduct of agency employees. The term includes policies, procedures, rules and regulations, general orders, special orders, memorandums and instructional material.

Proofs of Compliance: Documentation and other evidence that can be examined to determine that practices are being implemented properly. These may include but not limited to: reports, checklists, inventories, inspection forms, CAD and RMS printouts and photographs. The Police Department will be required to prove continued compliance with our policies and procedures.

Time sensitive standards are mandatory standards that have to be completed according to the frequency required by the standard. These may be reports, audits, analysis, inspections, reviews, inventories, tests and surveys. It is essential that these documents be completed in the time frequency required.

There are more than 280 standards. A file is generated documenting the controlling directive and the proofs showing continued compliance. During an onsite inspection, each of these files is reviewed to determine if the directives and proofs of compliance are correct. Also during the inspection, the assessors will tour the agency, conduct ride-a longs, review a static display of equipment and hold a panel review. The assessors will then report their finding to S.C.L.E.A. for a determination on Accreditation or Re-accreditation.

The agency will undergo re-accreditation every three years.

 

 

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