Big Island’s Police Department Awarded Accreditation
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by Dave Smith
The Hawaii Police Department has received national accreditation following an eight-year effort.
The process by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies requires compliance with more than 400 standards involving policies, procedures, management, operations and support services.
The recognition puts the department in an elite group, as CALEA accreditation has been granted to only 1,200 out of the approximately 23,000 law enforcement agencies across the nation.
According to CALEA, the purpose of the accreditation is to improve the delivery of public safety services by recognizing professional excellence and maintaining a body of standards covering a wide range of up-to-date public safety initiatives.
Police Chief Harry Kubojiri was among police officials receiving the recognition Saturday at CALEA’s fall conference in Jacksonville, Fla.
The process began in 2004 with an internal review of the department regarding CALEA standards. The department created an Accreditation Section four years later.
The department began the self-assessment phase required by CALEA in 2010.
In August, CALEA assessors carried out an on-site assessment which included visits to all district police stations, ride-alongs with patrol officers and interviews with department personnel and community leaders.
Comments on the department’s ability to comply with CALEA standards were also taken from the public both in a public session and by telephone.
According to a statement issued today, CALEA accreditation can limit the department’s exposure to liability risk because it demonstrates that a team of independent CALEA-trained assessors has verified that the department meets internationally recognized standards.
Kubojiri commended the department’s sworn officers for their participation in the accreditation process and for embracing the CALEA standards.
“Just by going through the process, we are a better police department,” he said.
According to the statement, 30% of the law enforcement agencies that have applied for accreditation have either failed to achieve it or withdrew before the process was completed.
Maintaining the accreditation requires a re-assessment every three years.
Mayor Billy Kenoi praised the Police Department for earning the status.
“This is something that they did not do for themselves but rather for the benefit of those they serve – our island community as well as those who visit our beautiful island,” Kenoi said.
CALEA was created in 1979 through the joint efforts of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, the National Sheriffs’ Association and the Police Executive Research Forum.