The Houston Independent School District Police Department and a team of assessors from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies hosted a public meeting this week as part of the department’s re-accreditation process.
The meeting provided community members the opportunity to voice comments about the department’s compliance with applicable standards or other significant issues. It was attended by about 15 people, most of whom were HISD Police employees. Only two attendees spoke, and both noted how hard the department had worked to become reaccredited.
“This is an opportunity for members of the community to have their voices heard,” said CALEA Assessor Bruce Robertson, who led the meeting and also serves as the police chief of Centerville, Ohio. “They can also fax or mail comments, and we will follow up on any areas of concern.”
It has been 13 years since the department first achieved accreditation, becoming the only school district police department in the nation to achieve such a feat. This summer, the department is seeking its fourth renewal of the designation.
Undertaken every three years, the voluntary re-accreditation process provides public safety agencies an opportunity to voluntarily demonstrate that they meet an established set of professional standards and processes for decision-making. Compliance is verified by a team of independent, unbiased (out-of-state), CALEA-trained assessors.
“The accreditation essentially confirms that HISD is upholding high standards in 189 different areas, from administrative and policy functions to officer training and more,” said HISD Police Accreditation Manager Angela Laster-King. “It’s a way to incorporate the best practices of law enforcement from across the country into our department.”
Once complete, the review is submitted to the commission for a final determination on re-accreditation, which is expected in the fall. If granted, the agency must submit annual reviews attesting to its continued compliance with commission standards.
“It’s an intensive process, but it’s worthwhile,” said HISD Chief of Police Robert Mock. “Our department is committed to maintaining the highest standards, and the CALEA accreditation bares that out.”
A copy of these standards is available for review in Room 103 of HISD Police headquarters.
Individuals who did not attend the public meeting may submit written comments by fax to 713-842-3752 or by mail to Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, 13575 Heathcote Blvd., Ste. 320, Gainesville, Virginia, 20155. More information on CALEA