The Boston College Police Department (BCPD) has formally received accreditation from the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission, becoming the ninth college police department in the state to achieve this status.
Three assessors from the commission reviewed BCPD’s policies in a two-day assessment in early November. The department was judged on whether it had written complying policies and followed through with procedures that adhered to the policies. Following that review, the assessors suggested that the department receive accreditation, noting that BCPD had complied with more than 280 national standards and best practices.
An initial review last spring found that BCPD had already met more than 150 mandatory standards, and the department received certification. The 98 additional mandatory standards for accreditation were fulfilled by the time of the November review, along with 75 of 125 optional standards.
According to a press release from the department, areas that were assessed included patrol operations, administrative procedures, recruitment and selection, training and professional development, victim assistance, fiscal management, discipline, performance evaluation, crime prevention and investigations. The standards upon which the accreditation was based were adopted from the national Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), Inc.
Lt. Laurene Spiess, BCPD accreditation manager, said in November that the department had documentation indicating its compliance with some of the standards even before it officially adopted the standards.
“We took all of the optional standards for the Crime Prevention and Community Liaison Program and had a lot of the compliance documentation prior to adopting the standards, because we have a very strong community policing program and we’re already doing the things the standards required,” Spiess said.
BC Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety John King explained that BCPD was able to confirm its sound policies by comparing them to the accreditation standards.
“In many respects, we affirmed in writing many of the practices that were already in place at BCPD,” King said in an email. “In some cases, we established new policies and procedures. This process did require weekly dissemination of policies, many with associated tests. Staff are required to achieve a grade of 100 percent on all policy tests.”
Spiess said that BCPD volunteered for accreditation and would receive no money or grants upon receiving the distinction.
“We are committed to evaluate and reassess our policies and procedures on a regular basis and always strive to be better,” Spiess said. “We do these things because we do care about our community. We are your police department, and we strive to be the benchmark for others in our industry to model after.”
King recognized Spiess’s comprehensive knowledge of accreditation requirements and credited her for preparing BCPD for review. He also noted the entire department’s commitment to the accreditation process.
“The journey to accreditation began over three years ago, and we achieved an earlier milestone of certification in April of 2013,” King said in the department’s press release. “Nearly every member of the BCPD staff contributed to the achievement of accreditation either through researching or writing policies or by providing important feedback during policy comment periods.”
“Achieving accreditation gives us a great sense of accomplishment that our department has been evaluated against a set of established standards recognized by our profession,” King said in an email. “Our staff has done an outstanding job throughout this process.”
The accreditation will be in effect for three years, and the department’s policies and procedures will be reviewed on a scheduled basis throughout that period. In 2017, assessors will return for a three-day assessment to appraise BCPD’s adherence to both the 98 mandatory standards and 75 optional standards for accreditation.
More than 170 police departments in Massachusetts are participating in the accreditation process, with 40 departments being fully accredited.