Thursday Apr 03 2008
Rocklin PD earns accreditation
By: Michael Althouse
One of just seven city police forces in state to be certified
After nearly three years of instituting standards and procedures that would make it one of an elite few, the Rocklin Police Department was recognized last month by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). According to its Web site, CALEA's purpose and mission is two-fold. First, to establish a body of standards designed to increase agency effectiveness and efficiency in the delivery of public safety services and, second, to establish and administer a series of accreditation programs through which public safety agencies can demonstrate voluntarily that they meet an established set of professionally recognized standards leading to excellence in management and service delivery. Police Chief Mark Siemens said the Rocklin Police Department is just one of seven municipal law enforcement agencies in the state to have been certified by CALEA. After we built the building (police station) we started going down the road toward CALEA, Siemens said. One of the things I noticed when I first came on board is that when the department was relatively small, policies were poorly developed. As the city and the police department grew, there was a greater need for more structured and concrete procedures, Siemens said, adding that CALEA standards and procedures greatly exceed state minimums and provide greater accountability. One of the biggest issues we faced was operational readiness, he said. What does it mean to the officer at 2 a.m.? It means his equipment is ready - everything is ready to go. Although there have been some reports of officers who feel too much emphasis was placed on CALEA certification, Siemens maintains that most feel they played a part in the process. We've got a department meeting on April 1 and we'll be concentrating on the more operational issues, he said. Rocklin Mayor Brett Storey was invited to go to the March 15 CALEA Spring Conference in Atlanta where the Rocklin PD was expected to receive its accreditation. I was able to sit in and find out what they went through, Storey said. It was not just the Chief doing the work, it was every cop. Storey added that the department now has all their ducks in a row. Now with any arrests, the convictions will stand, Storey said. City Manager Carlos Urrutia said the advantage of having a CALEA certified police department goes beyond community pride. Of course we're proud to have an outstanding police force, he said. But for me, I tend to look at things fiscally so anything that reduces the city's liability is a good thing. The certification process began almost three years ago and now makes the Rocklin Police Department one of only 13 agencies in the state to meet the standards of CALEA. According to Capt. Brian Masterson of the Alameda County Sheriff's Department and Chairman for CALEA's California Police Accreditation Coalition, there are more than 5,000 law enforcement agencies in California. It's not an easy process, it's long, arduous and it costs a bit of money, Masterson said. Agencies that are accredited meet the state law and exceed it. CALEA builds on a system and process for strict accountability. Among the 385 separate standards CALEA requires includes procedures for documenting and analyzing traffic stop data to prevent racial profiling, Masterson said. Procedures, documentation and analysis of data on use of force and weapons training are also addressed by CALEA accredited agencies.