As the Goldsboro Police Department enters its last leg of implementing national accreditation standards, the department is now conducting self-assessments and releasing procedures, forms and statistics to the public.
“(CALEA) makes us more transparent,” said Goldsboro Police Chief Mike West. “Not that we’ve ever tried to hide anything, but it’s there for the public to look at so they can keep up with what the department is doing.”
The Commission for Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies offers the program, outlining more than 400 standards for law enforcement agencies to adhere to across the U.S. The standards set parameters for what is expected of law enforcement agencies in an attempt to increase accountability and reduce risk and liability.
“Goldsboro Police Department did not create these standards,” said Marilyn Wagner, GPD accreditation manager. “These are across the United States, they’ve been created with input from law enforcement professionals over decades.
“They really challenge you to look ahead and to be the best that you can be as a department.”
The Goldsboro Police Department is completing the Advanced Law Enforcement Accreditation Program, which includes more than 4,800 standards that state what is expected of an agency under a specific topic. These standards are folded into more than 90 internal department general orders, which outline policies and procedures.
Goldsboro city councilmen approved pursing CALEA accreditation in February 2017, which included hiring an accreditation manager to oversee the program with a $61,486 annual salary, an $11,500 enrollment fee and a nearly $4,000 annual continuation fee.
Accreditation increases departmental efficiency and transparency, and it can help when applying for grants and additional funding, West said. With the CALEA standards in place, West said it will be easier to locate information when it is entered and recorded in a uniform manner, and it holds the department accountable by requiring documentation of procedures such as entering evidence.
Prior to starting the CALEA accreditation process, the Police Department was not affiliated with an accreditation agency, but had its own general orders, procedures and standards. After entering the program, the department was given three years to comply with 370 CALEA standards, Wagner said.
Since entering the program, the department has revamped its organizational chart, which now includes goals for each unit and written directives showing how the department is complying with the CALEA standards. Wagner also said more than 140 forms and 98 general orders were created.
Before, the department had around 106 general orders and standard operating procedures, but those orders were revised to meet the new standards. New general orders were even created to include operations the department was already complying with, Wagner said.
“Although 93 general orders, to some, doesn’t seem like a lot, in those general orders is where we’re achieving those 370 standards,” Wagner said.
Now, the department must show CALEA proof of compliance, and is slowly releasing department procedures and annual statistics.
With 15 months left to prove standard compliance to CALEA, West said more information about departmental procedures as well as statistics will be added to the Goldsboro Police Department website.
The department has faced some challenges while implementing the CALEA standards, especially due to the amount of paperwork involved.
“It’s been a challenge because it’s been a lot of change in a short period time,” Wagner said. “I think for the most part, people have really embraced it.”
But, overall West and Wagner said the program is beneficial to the department as well as Goldsboro citizens.
“We talked about CALEA for years,” West said. “CALEA has been kicked around here ever since I started 27 years ago. It’s more documentation, and it’s organized us better.
“It just makes us a more transparent agency. To me, it’s just a no-brainer to go this route.”