For the fourth time since 2001, the Camas Police Department has been recommended for accreditation by the Washington Association of Sheriffs & Police Chiefs.
According to WASPC, the purpose of law enforcement agency accreditation is to “professionalize the law enforcement industry by providing a review process for agencies to be certified as operating under industry best practices and standards.”
In total, the process includes eight phases. As part of the on-site assessment and evaluation phase completed in Camas earlier this month, a WASPC accreditation team consisting of law enforcement executives from around Washington visited the police department to examine its policies and procedures and conduct interviews with staff to determine whether the department met the 136 standards of WASPC.
The CPD’s accreditation manager was Capt. Shyla Nelson.
“We encourage the assessors to give it a critical look, because we want to know if there is something we could do better in the agency,” Nelson said. “We really buy-in to the accreditation standards. We live it.”
The WASPC accreditation team did recommended some changes to the way the CPD does things as part of its recent review. Nelson said the most significant was the suggestion that a centralized system for documenting training records be established. Currently, as officers undergo mandated training and education, those records may end up in different files depending on the type of training.
Nelson said that procedural change will be implemented, in addition to a few other minor adjustments relating to policies.
Now, the WASPC team’s recommendations will be forwarded to the Accreditation Commission, then to the Board of Directors who will confer accreditation in May.
City Administrator Lloyd Halverson announced the achievement during a recent City Council meeting.
“I was struck by the rigorousness of the review of the police department, the insistence by the reviewers on the documentation and proof of what has been done, and the arm’s length professionalism of the review,” he said. “I think it is a real comment on the department, its leadership and their rank-and-file people.”
Accredited police agencies must be re-accredited every four years. Camas earned its first accreditation in 2001.
“We all know we have an excellent department. We see it evidenced in the work they do,” said Mayor Scott Higgins. “This is nice though, to have another level outside [of the city] agreeing with you. It’s great to hear the detail that went in and the praise the department received for what they do to keep our citizens safe.”
To date, approximately 60 of Washington’s nearly 300 police departments have achieved the standards necessary for accreditation.