Police chief travels to Maryland for department’s re-accreditation

By: Jon Brines, Placer Herald Correspondent
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Saturday, Rocklin Police Chief Mark Siemens is expected to address a commission in Maryland poised to re-accredit the department. In December, two investigators from outside police agencies audited the Rocklin Police Department to make sure it’s within standards set by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. The commission certifies agencies worldwide for employing the best practices of policing. “As an organization, we are not just living day to day. We planned to be a very professional organization and we’ve done our homework on best practices and put them in place,” Siemens said. “We did that in our initial accreditation. Now in this three-year period, we’re running the system.” Rocklin was initially accredited back in 2008 and it was Siemens’ mission to get the department re-accredited before his retirement at the end of the month. “I wanted to get through the re-accredition before I left,” Siemens said. “I wanted to build an organization that had sustainability. Good people go away, but not good systems.” The area covered by the commission framework is vast, according to Siemens. “We drill and we practice,” Siemens said. “Everything from making sure the generator starts when the power goes out to the SWAT team has all of its gear when its ready to roll. We have operational readiness at a level that it has never been here before.” None of the police departments in Placer County are CALEA-accredited and Rocklin is one of only 14 Law Enforcement agencies to be accredited by the commission in California. That figure represents only 5 percent nationwide, according to the commission. Saturday’s hearing amounts to a question and answer session for Siemens and a panel of commissioners. Siemens is also bringing Lt. Mike Freeman and Accreditation Manager Sgt. Jamie Knox to the hearing. “(The department) will most likely receive the award,” Knox said. “From what I understand we did very well.” The hearing is in lieu of an announcement before an awards banquet Saturday night. The final report from the commission outlines the department’s progress since the 2008 as is available for public review. New City Manager Rick Horst said he’s impressed by the accolade. “This department has shown a willingness to go the extra mile,” Horst said. “A lot of other departments don’t want to work that hard.” Horst said the accreditation will support the city’s already low crime rate. “When the bad guys want to think about where they want to go to do bad stuff — if Rocklin is not the path of least resistance, that’s good,” Horst said. The city is expected to pay a $4,030 annual fee to maintain the accreditation plus the cost of the on-site inspection from December. City Councilman Brett Story said the accreditation is important for the police department and is a feather in Siemens’ cap. “Mark led the organization through the accreditation process and built a framework of policies, procedures and processes that will serve the police department for many years to come,” Storey said. Rocklin Police Department is also a certified member of the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training.