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Hagerstown Police Department being assessed for accreditation

March 31, 2011|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — Assessors will arrive on April 9 to examine whether the Hagerstown Police Department meets more than 450 standards to receive accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc.

Police Chief Arthur Smith said the assessors will stay for four days to scrutinize the police department on its management, operations and other duties.

“They spend their time making sure we do what we say we do,” Smith said. “The last time they were here they interviewed more than half the people in the police department. They leave no stone unturned.”

Smith said the department has been accredited since the mid-1990s and undergoes the process every three years.

“It forces the police department to critically examine its operations,” Smith said. “I think the main thing is to ensure you provide a good service. This brings in a set of eyes and makes you honestly look at your organization.”

Smith said one of the perks that accredited departments receive is a lower liability insurance rate.

Hagerstown’s cost to receive accreditation will be about $7,500, said Dennis Hyater, a CALEA program manager.

The public will have a chance to meet with the assessors at City Hall on April 11 to critique the police department’s performance, Smith said.

Comments will be limited to 10 minutes and must address the department’s ability to comply with CALEA standards. A copy of the standards is available at the police department.

Residents who can’t attend the meeting may give their comments on April 10 by calling  301-797-6251. Calls will be accepted from 2 to 4 p.m.

Four major law enforcement executive associations — the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, the National Sheriffs' Association and the Police Executive Research Forum — established CALEA as an independent accrediting authority in 1979.

CALEA accredited the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in 2010.

If you go:

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What: Public meeting to discuss the Hagerstown Police Department’s accreditation.
When: 6 p.m., April 11.
Where: City Hall, 1 E. Franklin St.

To learn more, call 301-790-3700, ext. 279.

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