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Police Departments and Accreditation Essay

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Updated: Jul 21st, 2021

The accreditation provided by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) aims to ensure that police department are capable of fulfilling their mission and complying with the national safety and security standards. The paramount benefit of the Law Enforcement Accreditation Program (LEAP) is that it promotes greater accountability and professionalism (“Benefits of accreditation,” 2016). Based on the continuous review and adjustment, the LEAP promotes the revision of policies to provide the most relevant services to the population. The community-oriented policies enhance community relationships and create the platform for collaboration between citizens and the police. For example, in the case of suspecting something illegal, the citizens are likely to be open to report it and contribute to the investigation. However, as reported by Johnson (2015), accreditation proved to be not associated with officers’ engagement in community-focused activities.

Professional excellence is an integral benefit of the accreditation as both internal and external aspects are to be evaluated by the CALEA and improved if required. The mentioned organization provides the best opportunities for police officers to grow professionally and be committed to their department, which is achieved through workplace satisfaction, confidence in success, and pride in one’s work (“Law enforcement,” 2019). Access to the practices adopted by other accredited agencies is the related advantage that is useful to design a network of interacting departments. As an example, it is possible to note the consolidation of fire services and police (Wilson & Grammich, 2017). In addition, professional development is accompanied by training and a sophisticated management approach. For instance, increased accountability is regarded as the outcome of the proactive management and resources given to employees. Clearly defined goals and guidelines make sure that police officers become experts on responding to various threats to follow criminal justice principles.

The status of an accredited law enforcement agency facilitates the process of obtaining liability insurance and reducing connected costs. The certification is useful in protecting against lawsuits, while the number of complaints declared by the citizens is likely to decrease (“Benefits of accreditation,” 2016). Another benefit is associated with the introduction of an internal affairs unit by the accredited police departments. According to Hougland and Wolf (2017), it allowed reducing the number of citizens’ complaints and improving investigation results. In particular, the use of the Civilian Complaint Review Board proved to be less effective compared to the internal affairs unit method.

The use of evidence-based practices should also be listed, among other issues that positively impact police actions and society as a whole. Instead of the introduction of these practices, the CALEA implies adapting them to the local contexts. For example, the neighborhoods with a high level of minor criminal activity require closer cooperation with the citizens, while drug sale entails punitive measures. The necessary changes may be applied in many agencies without additional challenges on federal and state levels.

Considering the significance of the identified benefits, the role of accreditation for police departments cannot be overestimated. They should be required to receive accreditation to adjust management, promote professional growth, and pay attention to community and government relations. Most importantly, the status of the accredited organizations ensures that the police act in consistency with legal and ethical national standards. The recognition of the success, as well as better public confidence, also points to the need to promote the accreditation for police departments across the US.

Question: What are the ways the police officers can use to communicate with the community members in terms of the standards prescribed by the CALEA?


Benefits of accreditation. (2016). Web.

Hougland, S., & Wolf, R. (2017). Accreditation in police agencies: Does external quality assurance reduce citizen complaints? The Police Journal, 90(1), 40-54.

Johnson, R. R. (2015). Examining the effects of agency accreditation on police officer behavior. Public Organization Review, 15(1), 139-155.

(2019). Web.

Wilson, J. M., & Grammich, C. A. (2017). Consolidation of police and fire services in the United States. International Criminal Justice Review, 27(3), 203-221.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Police Departments and Accreditation'. 21 July.

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