Chief Brent Dodge is proud to announce that the Johnson City Police Department (JCPD) has received re-accreditation by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services. The JCPD has been an accredited agency continuously since 1996, and will now be accredited through 2026. Of about 500+ police agencies in New York State, only about 165 are accredited.
Re-Accreditation at JCPD: In June 2021 we had a multi-day on-site evaluation by assessors from the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services Law Enforcement Accreditation Program. This evaluation was to determine whether or not we had maintained the high standards of the Accreditation Program for the past five years. After an exhaustive inspection of our policies and documentation, as well as interviews with members of the department, we were found to be in full compliance. DCJS hosted a ceremony in September honoring the Law Enforcement Agencies which had achieved or maintained Accredited status.
About Accreditation: Accreditation is a progressive and contemporary way of helping police agencies evaluate and improve their overall performance. It provides formal recognition that an organization meets or exceeds general expectations of quality in the field. Accreditation acknowledges the implementation of policies that are conceptually sound and operationally effective.
The New York State program became operational in 1989 and has four principle goals:
- To increase the effectiveness and efficiency of law enforcement agencies utilizing existing personnel, equipment and facilities to the extent possible;
- To promote increased cooperation and coordination among law enforcement agencies and other agencies of the criminal justice services;
- To ensure the appropriate training of law enforcement personnel; and
- To promote public confidence.
The Accreditation Program is comprised of 132 standards and is divided into three categories. Standards in the Administrative section have provisions for such topics as agency organization, fiscal management, personnel practices, and records. Training standards encompass basic and in-service instruction, as well as training for supervisors and specialized or technical assignments. Operations standards deal with such critical and litigious topics as high-speed pursuits, roadblocks, patrol, and unusual occurrences.
Accreditation Process: The accreditation process has several distinct stages. The amount of time that an agency should plan on allotting to complete the process varies depending in part upon the amount of work that needs to be accomplished. Another significant variable is the number of hours per week that can be committed to the task of drafting and implementing new procedures. Some agencies have been able to earn accreditation within several months of applying. Significant elements of the accreditation process include:
- Application: Officials who wish to participate in the Accreditation Program must submit an Application. The enabling legislation specifies that applications must be signed by both the agency's chief law enforcement officer, and by the municipality's chief elected officer or a representative of the local governing body. The chief or sheriff will also be asked to sign an Agency Participation Agreement which specifies the mutual responsibilities of the agency and Accreditation Council. The Application and Agency Participation Agreement form is available on-line in the Publications and Forms section of the NYS DCJS Website.
- Policy Development: The policy development stage is marked by the agency's efforts to meet applicable program requirements. Documentation must be compiled to demonstrate compliance with those standards which the agency already meets, and new procedures will have to be drafted for those areas which have not yet been addressed. Experienced program staff from the Office of Public Safety are available for consultation throughout this process. New policies and procedures must be fully implemented for at least three months before an agency can be considered for accreditation.
- Assessment: Agency officials notify the Office of Public Safety when they believe that all program requirements have been successfully met. OPS then selects a team of experienced law enforcement practitioners who conduct a three day on-site assessment of the agency to verify that it qualifies for accreditation status. Verification includes the review of policies and procedures and supporting documentation related to the Accreditation Standards. The chief executive officer has an opportunity to review the list of potential assessors prior to this visit and can disqualify an individual if there is a conflict of interest or other compelling reason.
- Council Review: The assessment team leader prepares a detailed report of the team's findings and forwards it to the Office of Public Safety. A copy of this report is then sent to the NYS Law Enforcement Accreditation Council for review and action at its next scheduled meeting. If accreditation is granted, it will be valid for a period of five years. If accreditation is deferred, the Council will advise the agency what it must do in order to become accredited.
- Award Ceremony: Agencies that meet all program requirements are awarded a mounted Certificate of Accreditation. In addition, the program manager receives a mounted certificate of Accomplishment to recognize the role that he or she had in helping the agency to become accredited. Division of Criminal Justice Services officials present the plaques at a local ceremony hosted by the participating agency.
- Program Maintenance: Accredited agencies must develop specific mechanisms to monitor and enforce internal compliance with all applicable standards. This is a critical step in the accreditation process because it ensures continuous compliance with agency policies and facilitates the reaccreditation assessment. State rules and regulations require chief executive officers of accredited agencies to file annual reports attesting to their ongoing compliance and identifying any instances of significant noncompliance. The Council reviews these reports very carefully and will provide additional guidance to agencies where appropriate.
- Re-accreditation: Chief executive officers of accredited agencies advise OPS of their wish to be reaccredited by submitting a new application near the end of their five-year period of accreditation. The reaccreditation process is very similar to one described above for an agency's initial accreditation. Accredited agencies that have regularly updated their program files are in a very strong position to be reaccredited.