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BUPD officials to seek federal accreditation

Boston University Police Department officials are revamping policies and operational procedures as part of attempts to receive federal accreditation, officials said.

BUPD Chief Director of Public Safety Thomas Robbins said BUPD officials hope to receive national accreditation from The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.

In order to receive national accreditation, the BUPD must satisfy CALEA’s 482 standards, Robbins said. These standards range from hiring and training procedures to budget handling protocol.

“There is a lot of internal work to do,” Robbins said. “It is something that we [BUPD] are working hard for. The credit goes out to the administration for supporting our efforts and also to the men and women of the department who have stepped up and embraced in the process.”

Robbins said BUPD received accreditation from the Commonwealth last year because its policies and procedures were on par with what are considered the best campus and municipal police departments in the state.

BUPD is now seeking federal accreditation so it can provide the BU community with a better police department and with top-level service engagement and safety, Robbins said.

“[National accreditation] benefits a community tremendously,” Robbins said. “It tells the community that they have a police department that has worked hard for this certification and has brought its standards up to the level of the best practices nationally in terms of policing.”

Robbins said accreditation by CALEA is a self-assessment process. BUPD officials are currently examining a comprehensive list of directives, which requires officials to assess all of the agency’s existing policies and protocol.

“We [BUPD] have volunteered to put ourselves through this scrutiny because we want to maintain a certain level of professionalism,” Robbins said. “We want to be one of the best and to be recognized as a professional agency, and I think [accreditation] is the way to do it in this industry.”

Stephen Mitchell, CALEA’s regional program manager, said after an agency applies for accreditation, CALEA officials complete a comprehensive assessment of the agency though official files, interviews and observations.

“[CALEA] takes its own standards and sees if the agency is compliant with them in any way shape or form,” Mitchell said. “They then back it up with documentation that follows the actions of activities that that standard is calling for.”

While this is a long process that requires reaccreditation every few years, Mitchell said attaining such status is worthwhile as it both enhances agency morale and provides officers and officials with other tangible benefits.

“When agencies such as BUPD receive the honor or national accreditation, there becomes a sense of uniformity in the way that agency applies their authority among the campus,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell said CALEA accreditation also boosts an agency’s credibility, which would then encourage stronger candidates to apply for available BUPD positions in the future.

BU spokesman Colin Riley said accreditation will be beneficial to members of the BU community because it reminds them that they are protected by one of the best law enforcement agencies in the country.

“Accreditation is something you work towards and apply for — it’s not something that you decide to do [without work],” Riley said. “And, by working for accreditation, it actually reinforces the proof that they [BUPD] always want to strive to be the best law enforcement agency they can be.”

Riley said working towards accreditation requires a significant investment in resources and time, and BUPD officials’ willingness to undertake this endeavor commitment on the part of BUPD.

“I already think [BUPD] does an outstanding job,” Riley said. “But, this [accreditation] would recognize them [BUPD] as an outstanding organization in all aspects.”

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