Todd Paris, Staff Writer and Salisbury Attorney
♦ Some of the local media revealed the Salisbury Police Department was recently awarded international accreditation for the 26th straight year from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) Inc. Their site says:
“CALEA operates as an independent, nonprofit (501[c]3) corporation, and has a professional staff managed by an Executive Director.”
“The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc., (CALEA®) was created in 1979 as a credentialing authority through the joint efforts of law enforcement’s major executive associations:
· International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)
· National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE)
· National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA)
· Police Executive Research Forum (PERF).”
If it operates as an “independent” corporation, I infer that the four listed groups provide no financial support or control. According to their website, the initial accreditation fee for a department from 25-199 officers costs $11,450.00. In addition to the initial accreditation fees, “agencies will be invoiced separately for the estimated on-site costs of the initial assessment. Actual on-site costs are impacted by lodging, airfare, the number of assessors utilized, and other factors specifically related to the assessed agency and the geographical area in which it is located.” The annual fee is $4,065. At last city council meeting the Salisbury Police Department introduced a non LEO staff member in charge of CALEA compliance and certification. I do not know what her salary is or if she has other duties as well. I’m not sure what benefit the City of Salisbury gets from paying out all this money and effort other than bragging rights and the right to put the CALEA logo on their websites and cool decal on their cruisers.
I am not going to pass on the merits of this certification by this private non-profit corporation. For all I know, it may be quite challenging in the facts and areas it is set up to survey. It appears that the Salisbury’s Police Department’s nearly 25% reduction in force, a burgeoning violent and property crime rate, and around 17 unsolved murders which appears to have no affect on keeping this expensive certification.