The University of Maine, Old Town and Orono police departments have received distinctive recognition status from a national law enforcement accreditation agency, a precursor to becoming fully accredited and confirmation that the departments have met more than 100 standards of excellence.
UMaine Police Chief Roland LaCroix made the announcement Monday, Nov. 21. The designation follows an extensive review and public comment period in February 2011, in which representatives from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA®) examined all aspects of the departments police policies, procedures, management, operations, and support services, according to LaCroix.
Verification by the team that the three police departments met the commission’s state-of-the-art standards is part of a voluntary process to gain accreditation — a prized recognition of public safety professional excellence, according to LaCroix and Lt. Paul Paradis, the department’s training, development and accreditation manager.
Old Town, Orono and UMaine police departments were found in compliance with 112 national standards. Once a department attains recognition status, it submits annual reports attesting to continued compliance with the standards for three years. The department then becomes eligible for full accreditation, a status that includes only five percent of law enforcement agencies in the United States.
“It’s an achievement,” says Old Town Police Chief Don O’Halloran. “You might have been doing the right things all along, but the accreditation is the formal verification.”
The full time officers on the departments are all sworn officers, fully trained through the Maine Criminal Justice Academy after a 720-hour program.
“Having our policies and procedures recognized by CALEA helps ensure the quality of service that we provide to our community and demonstrates that UMPD is a professional agency that operates under nationally recognized law enforcement standards,” LaCroix says.
The CALEA review covers every aspect of a department’s operations, from administration, communications, officer hiring and promotion, to records management, investigations, evidence protection, equipment and officer training, says Paradis, “from the streets to the courts.”
“It also includes a review and documentation of any use of force, so departments can identify possible patterns that may need further analysis,” Orono Police Chief Gary Duquette adds.
Contact: Chief Roland LaCroix, (207) 581-4040