The Chattanooga Police Department has received advanced accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc.
The Gainesville, Va.-based organization measures police agencies by using more than 400 standards to examine agency guidelines. The evaluation can help reduce liability within departments and create better accountability.
The department has been accredited through CALEA for 12 years and this year opted for the Gold Standard assessment.
"You have to meet many more standards," said Janice Dixon, communications specialist for CALEA.
Police Chief Bobby Dodd said accreditation is an example of how the department strives to improve its policies and practices.
"We were told going into the process last December that there were only a handful of agencies nationwide that have achieved the Gold Standard accreditation," he said.
Dixon could not provide information on the number of agencies that have received the accreditation.
"This format is reserved for our clients who have a successful history in accreditation," she said. "It's covering twice as many or three times as many standards. That way you're getting best practices that cover all of your agency operations."
Hamilton County Sheriff's Office is going through the CALEA accreditation process for the first time. The office's three-year deadline to complete the process is Sept. 15.
An on-site inspection tentatively is scheduled for sometime on or before Sept. 15, Sheriff Jim Hammond said.
"In the big picture, it gives you a better defense if you have to deal with lawsuits. Secondly, it gives you more availability of federal, state and local grants because you're complying with all of these recognized standards," Hammond said. "Probably most important to me, it brings under one umbrella people's understanding of how you get hired, how you get promoted, what you have to do in just about every circumstance."
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