Tuesday Feb 19 2008
Rocklin Police Department near accreditation
By: Michael Althouse, The Placer Herald
The Rocklin Police Department is nearing the end of a goal to become accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. It is a process that that began almost three years ago and, once awarded, will make 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. According to the organization's Web site, there are numerous benefits to being accredited including requiring an agency to develop a comprehensive, well thought out, uniform set of written directives. It also provides the necessary reports and analyses a CEO needs to make fact-based, informed management decisions and improves an agency's relationship with the community, the Web site states. For the city of Rocklin, having its police department accredited means reduced risk of liability, said City Manager Carlos Urrutia. If your police department is doing things properly, it lessens the exposure to the city, Urrutia said. We would be less likely to face liability from big mistakes that could cost the city a lot of money. According to Urrutia, the biggest benefit is a prescribed way of doing business based on a proven method. It brings cohesiveness to the department, he said. Rocklin Police Lt. Lon Milka expects the department's efforts over the past three years will return a favorable response when the department goes before CALEA in March. It is a very good chance we will be awarded our accreditation, he said. Lt. Mike Freeman, one of the accreditation managers for the Rocklin Police, said the process is a continued commitment. What makes accreditation important is that it is a continuing process, he said. The standards put in place are subject to periodic review and oversight, Freeman added. One of the things we were lacking was a complete procedures manual, he said, adding that the department was up to state standards but who wants to be the minimum? We want to exceed those standards. One of the things that blew them (CALEA inspectors) away was our evidence room, Freeman said. CALEA officials were also impressed with the department's communications and records keeping, Freeman said, adding that CALEA officials wanted to use the new police station as a model for accreditation. We built this building with accreditation in mind, he said. The department was also noted for having more than 100 community volunteers. We're proud to know that we have this level of professionalism, Freeman said.