On July 28, 2018, the Chesterfield Police Department received their fifth reaccreditation along with the Award of Meritorious Agency through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). The department is currently in its third year of a four year cycle before its next review in April 2022.
CALEA is a four-year process during which the department must adhere to strict international guidelines of policing and organizational practices. During a review, two out of state assessors come to Chesterfield and review department policies and examine procedures to verify compliance with internationally set standards. They also interview various community members during scheduled interviews and hold a public hearing.
The Chesterfield Police Department was initially granted International Accreditation on July 12, 2003 and was reaccredited on July 12, 2006, March 21, 2009, July 2012, July 2015 and July 2018. The purpose of CALEA’s Accreditation Programs is to improve the delivery of public safety services, primarily by maintaining a body of standards developed by public safety practitioners covering a wide range of up-to-date public safety initiatives, establishing and administering an accreditation process and recognizing professional excellence.
What is CALEA?
The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) is a voluntary, non-governmental agency forged in 1979 by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the National Association of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), the National Sheriff's Association (NSA), and the police Executive Research Forum (PERF) to create a body of standards which further the professional level of service offered by local law enforcement agencies.
The commission members have diverse backgrounds: educators, legislators, and lawyers. They have come from areas throughout North America to formulate these standards. This accreditation Commission is based in Fairfax, Virginia.
Why Pursue CALEA?
Chief Johnson notes that some of the benefits of accreditation include controlled liability insurance costs, greater accountability within the agency, increased community advocacy, and recognition for excellence.
The goals of accreditation are to strengthen crime prevention and control capabilities; formalize essential management procedures; establish fair and nondiscriminatory personnel practices; improve service delivery; solidify interagency cooperation and coordination and; boost citizen and staff confidence in the agency.
Chief Johnson welcomed the opportunity to demonstrate that the Chesterfield Police Department is among the best of law enforcement agencies in the State of Missouri. Only 18% of the police officers in the United States and 10% of the police officers in Canada are employed by agencies accredited by CALEA. Only 41 law enforcement agencies in Missouri, 22 in St. Louis County, are currently accredited.
How Does CALEA Affect the Department?
CALEA has set 430 standards that the Department must comply with. The office of the Chief of Police facilitates the continual review of Department policies, procedures and actions and prepares documentation to prove compliance with those standards. Every four years a team of assessors from CALEA will visit the Chesterfield Police Department to review our documentation, verify proof of compliance, interview management and staff, and hold a public hearing to elicit any citizens' comments.
The standards outlined by CALEA do not set hard rules defining our policy and procedure. Instead, they set a framework within which our Department defines its own policy and procedures to achieve and maintain these standards.
CALEA and Community Policing
Community Oriented Problem Solving is the philosophy which guides our department - It allows us to approach situations in a partnership with members of our community. Our philosophy is to provide better communication between citizens, the Police Department and the beat officer.
By providing national recognition of our professionalism, CALEA accreditation will continue to encourage us to strengthen long-standing relationships with community organizations while promoting new relationships with others.