“The re-certification process is a comprehensive review of the police department’s systems and processes as prescribed by CALEA standards in a continuous pursuit of excellence,” said Ervin, the department’s public information officer and its accreditation manager. “The Fairfield Police Department is a Gold Standard Agency and continued efforts to reach this achievement sets the benchmark for public safety professionalism.
There are more than 450 CALEA standards, but not all will apply to Fairfield. In 2018, the last time the agency went through the full accreditation review process, the Fairfield Police Department was in compliance with 318 mandatory standards and 66 other than mandatory standards. There were 94 standards that were not applicable.
The number of standards varies annually, said Pierce. New standards are adopted as old ones are phased out. Sometimes standards may also be combined.
“They’re all based on best practices of law enforcement and at the time, so it’s an evolutionary process,” he said.
Information complied is then reviewed by the commission to be discussed at quarterly meetings. It’s in those meetings that the accreditation decisions are made.
“There’s a lot of steps to the process,” Pierce said.
And accreditation is not a quadrennial event. According to the CALEA website, there are yearly status reports and web-based assessments in the three years between each full assessment.
“There’s a lot of work that goes into it. It’s time-consuming, but it’s time-consuming in a positive way,” Pierce said. “It keeps the agency in a constant state of reflecting on their own practices.”