Of the over 10,000 police departments in the country, less than 1,000 are accredited by the Commission for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA). Valparaiso is lucky to be home to one of those departments. This volunteer assessment requires the Valparaiso Police Department to meet high standards set in four key areas: policy and procedures, operations, administration, and support services. On August 15, the public were invited to speak to CALEA agents and voice their opinions of their local officers.
“Not all police departments are accredited, and it proves we have superior officers,” said Pat Scott, a member of Valparaiso Police Department Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS), “In the eyes of the public, I think it’s an important thing.”
The public meeting was held at the Valparaiso Police Station and open to any community and department member who wished to speak on the character and behaviors of officers. Each individual was given 5 minutes to share their thoughts. As stories of interactions with police were shared one thing became clear, the citizens in the room loved their police officers.
“We really value what these men and women do for us,” Scott said.
Once everyone had a chance to speak the meeting closed with final remarks from the assessment officers, but the process is not done for Valpo PD.
“This just one step of the many steps we’ve gone through,” said Sgt. Michael Greenes “We’ve been preparing for the last fews months, and it was nice to hear everyone tonight. It feels good to hear those positive things being said.”
The CALEA provide specific standards that must be met to earn accreditation in all aspects of the departments. The internal review includes assessing administration and operational methods as well as the officers’ community involvement.
“It’s a huge accomplishment. It’s a thing of pride, it’s a lot of work to get here.” said Sgt. Greenes, ”Our administration and Chief Brickner has said from day one we will be accredited here in Valpo.”