Chief Tyrone Parham is pleased to announce that a team of assessors from the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission (MPA), Inc. is scheduled to arrive on campus during the first week of April 2017 to begin examining various aspects of the police department's policies, procedures, operations and facilities. Verification by the assessment team that the department meets the Commission's standards is part of the voluntary process to gain state accreditation -- a self-initiated evaluation process by which police departments strive to meet and maintain standards that have been established for the profession, by the profession. The accreditation program consists of 253 mandatory standards as well as 122 optional standards. In order to acheive accreditation status, the department must meet all applicable mandatory standards as well as 65% of the optional standards. Maintaining accreditation is a highly prized recognition of law enforcement professional excellence.
The University of Massachusetts Amherst Police Department received its first reaccreditation award on November 21, 2015 at the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA) fall conference in Miami. The department’s first accreditation award was received in November 2012. “The men and women of the UMass Amherst Police Department are a dedicated team of professionals who have worked hard to make this award possible. Their ongoing commitment to providing the highest level of service is reflected in this highly regarded national award,” said Chief Tyrone Parham.
The CALEA Accreditation process—considered the “gold standard” by the public safety community—is a proven modern management tool. Once implemented, it provides an agency’s chief executive officer, on a continuing basis, with a blueprint that promotes the efficient use of resources and improves service delivery, regardless of the size, geographic location, or functional responsibilities of the agency. The standards upon which CALEA’s programs are based reflect the best thinking and experience of contemporary public safety practitioners and researchers. The standards are considered benchmarks for today’s public safety agencies. The award signifies the UMass Amherst Police Department has successfully met a body of internationally recognized professional standards offered by CALEA: Law Enforcement Accreditation.
Agencies receive their awards after participating in a voluntary process that involves a commitment of personnel and other resources. The process can take up to 36 months for law enforcement agencies seeking accreditation. During this period, all aspects of the agencies’ policies, procedures, management, operations, and support services are examined in detail. In addition, each agency conducts a detailed self-assessment and participates in an on-site review by a team of outside CALEA assessors, comprised of experienced public safety practitioners. The local community is also notified of the process and given the opportunity to submit comments and observations.
A team of assessors from CALEA arrived in Amherst on June 12 to examine all aspects of the police department’s policy and procedures, management, operations and support services. The UMass Amherst Police Department once again successfully met the standards required to achieve accredited status.
The UMass Amherst Police Department also received reaccreditation status from the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission in February 2014. Both awards require reaccreditation every three years. The accreditation manager for UMPD is Officer Jerry Perkins, with program oversight provided by Lt. Tom O’Donnell. For more information regarding the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc., contact the commission at 13575 Heathcote Boulevard, Suite 320 Gainesville, VA 20155, call (703) 352-4225 or visit www.calea.org.
The UMPD was the thirty-fourth police department in the Commonwealth to become accredited. This achievement serves as a testament to the high degree of professionalism with which our members serve the University of Massachusetts Amherst, its students, faculty, staff and visitors. Police accreditation is a process by which a police department formally evaluates its activities and seeks an independent judgment that it substantially achieves its own objectives and is generally equal in quality to comparable agencies. The essential elements of the accreditation process entail extensive review of, and adjustment to, agency policies, procedures and equipment; an onsite evaluation by a selected group of peers; and a decision by an independent commission that the agency is worthy of accreditation. The UMass Amherst Police Department is participating in the Massachusetts program, which adopts its standards from the national Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), established in 1979. In order to be a Massachusetts accredited police department, UMPD must meet defined standards established by the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission. These standards reflect the best professional practices in police management, administration, operation and support services. The accreditation process involves five phases: application, self-assessment, pre-assessment, onsite assessment and the commission review and maintenance of compliance.
What are certification and accreditation?
There are two levels within the Massachusetts program—certification and accreditation. Certified departments must be in compliance with 155 mandatory standards. In July 2009 a team of trained assessors, free of conflict with the department, conducted the first onsite review at UMPD. Based upon the findings and recommendations of the Assessment Team, the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission (MPAC) voted to grant UMPD certification.
The second level within the MPAC program is accreditation. UMPD was awarded full accreditation in January 2011. That required our department to meet an additional 98 mandatory standards, as well as a minimum of 79 optional standards, based on agency size, in order to receive that recognition.
Accreditation was awarded for a three-year period. UMPD must maintain compliance with the applicable standards, conduct interim reviews, and shall be assessed again in 2017 in order to continue as an accredited department.
We are extremely proud of our accreditation status and find that it has a number of benefits:
- Accreditation ensures the operational readiness of the UMass Amherst Police Department.
- Accreditation ensures that the department's policies and procedures are consistent with modern professional policing standards.
- Accreditation promotes a strong emphasis on officer safety.
- Accreditation provides an ongoing, independent evaluation of the Department.
- Accreditation provides each member of the department with a sense of pride, knowing that their agency has met such high, professional standards.
For further information on MPAC, contact:
Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission, Inc.
110 Haverhill Rd, #395
Amesbury, MA 01913
What is CALEA
CALEA stands for Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. It was established in 1979 and is comprised of four major law enforcement executive membership associations: International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), National Sheriffs' Association (NSA), and the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF).
It is a process where state and local law enforcement agencies can voluntarily demonstrate that they comply with national standards which are an indication of professional excellence.
The UMass Amherst Police Department achieved its first CALEA Accreditation Award on November 17, 2012. The Department will be re-assessed every three years to ensure continued compliance with recognized standards. The accreditation process provides for internal and external checks and balances ensuring that our agency is effectively serving our employees and the community. The benefits of achieving and maintaining CALEA accreditation include: increased training to develop the best officers, assists with the most efficient delivery of service to our community, and provides management with a comprehensive guide for the administration and operations of the department. The UMPD’s members are dedicated to the department’s mission of providing a safe environment in which to live, learn, and grow. We are the only Western MA police department accredited by CALEA, and the only college or university police department in the state to hold this distinction.
Other benefits of accreditation are nationwide recognition of professional excellence, continued planning and development of the department, proactive management, improved community relations and pride in our organization. CALEA accreditation assists us to demonstrate our commitment to our community through the highest level of excellence available in the law enforcement community.