University Police continues coveted accreditation
The University Police Department at the State University of New York at Fredonia has earned continued accreditation by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services and the New York State Law Enforcement Accreditation Program (LEAP), the gold standard in law enforcement.
“The training council told us to be accredited is one thing, but reaccreditation is much more difficult,” said University Police Chief Ann Burns. “Just like the first time we achieved it, the process was really extensive and exhausting.”
“(Fredonia’s) participation in the accreditation program demonstrates the commitment you and your officers have to providing the highest level of service and professionalism to the community you serve,” Hilary McGrath, Accreditation Program Manager wrote in a letter to the department. “You and all of the members of the SUNY Fredonia Police Department are to be commended for this achievement.”
To be considered for accreditation, a police department must undergo a rigorous on-site examination of 133 files, or standards of operation, as established by the Division of Criminal Justice Services. That examination includes a review of all written policies that encompass virtually every aspect of department operations, such as tracking the flow of cases. Also included are a physical review and inspection of facilities and examination of procedures that govern their use.
The department experienced three mock assessments that brought “different sets of eyes” to campus to examine different components of the department, Burns said. They identified files that needed revision or additions in order to be in full LEAP compliance. The three-person accreditation team examined the department in January.
Only 25 percent of nearly 600 law enforcement agencies in New York State – and eight SUNY campuses – have the accreditation, which is voluntary.
The joint effort by everyone within the University Police Department was a crucial factor in accomplishing the goal of LEAP accreditation, Burns said. “We really could not have done this without the support and assistance from all the officers and lieutenants within the department.”
Lieutenant Brian Studley and Lieutenant Benjamin Miller represented the department at the ceremony in Albany. According to Burns, both were instrumental in guiding the department to a successful reaccreditation. Also present were both the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of the State University Police.
The accreditation remains in effect for five years.