Temple University Police could become accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies after the department completes a lengthy assessment.
To be accredited by the commission, law enforcement departments must have certified, high-quality training standards for officers and administrators. The accreditation process includes a self-assessment, an on-site assessment conducted by CALEA assessors and a CALEA committee review of TUPD.
“They come in and tear the whole place up,” said Joe Garcia, Temple Police’s deputy chief of administration, told the The Temple News in September 2016. “They really scrutinize everything you do.”
Former TUPD administrations have considered undergoing accreditation but there was no follow-through because of the long process, said Lt. Thelisie Roberts, the accreditation manager for Campus Safety Services.
When Charlie Leone, the current director of Campus Safety Services, was appointed in August 2014, he made it one of his goals to obtain CALEA accreditation for TUPD, Roberts added.
“It is certainly a big boost, it’s a higher standard of professionalism,” Leone said. He added that accreditation would “open up the door” for funding and grants.
The self-evaluation for TUPD began with a look at the current facilities and operations, Roberts said.
“When you look into your directors and your policies, you look at the guidelines the commission offers you … to see whether you’re compliant,” Roberts said. “You have to look at all the documentation and the practices and procedures. Do you practice the procedures that you say you do? Are we conducting ourselves the way we say we do?”
The self-evaluation began in May 2014 and officially concluded two weeks ago. The next step, an on-site evaluation, has been scheduled for June 5 through 7, Garcia said.
CALEA evaluators will ask TUPD officers about their performance and how they’ve been taught to ensure “best practices” are being met, Roberts said. CALEA will bill TUPD for the total cost of the evaluation, but neither organization will know the cost for a few months, Garcia and Robinson said.
During the three-day evaluation, Temple students, staff and faculty members as well as North Philadelphia residents will be encouraged to call a CALEA hotline and express their suggestions and opinions regarding TUPD.
“Policing is always changing,” Roberts said. “It’s always evolving, and I think this decision to become accredited is very important, especially with how policing is viewed in the world right now.”
TUPD will be the fourth college police department in Philadelphia to receive a CALEA accreditation. The University of Pennsylvania’s police department has been CALEA accredited since 2001. Drexel and Villanova have been accredited since 2011.
To maintain CALEA accreditation, Temple Police must continue to comply with CALEA standards. TUPD must also submit an annual agency status report.
The next CALEA accreditation ceremony will be held in November, where accredited departments will be announced.
“TUPD will be there in hopes of getting our accreditation and bringing it home,” Garcia said.
Amanda Lien can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @amandajlien.