KSUPD asks for public input on reaccreditation

Rebecca Reis

The Kent State University Police Department will have its policies and procedures examined Monday to ensure the department is meeting professional standards.

Assessors from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) will be on campus to evaluate Kent State Police for international reaccreditation.

This process happens every three years and asks for community input before reporting back to the commission. Sgt. Nancy Shefchuk said assessors will look at everything the department does — from prisoner treatment to community outreach — to determine if it is compliant with around 360 policies.

“If you look at the university as a whole, you’re going to find out that many of the departments within the university are accredited through whatever their national or international governing board is,” Shefchuk said. “And by us being accredited, it’s saying that somebody outside of our agency is looking at our policy, making sure we’re adhering to best practices and saying we’re doing that.”

Accreditation is important, Shefchuk said, because it shows the community that an outside source believes the department is meeting high standards, instead of someone within the university.

CALEA addresses six major areas of law enforcement

1. role, responsibilities, and relationships with other agencies

2. organization, management, and administration;

3. personnel administration;

4. law enforcement operations, operational support, and traffic law enforcement;

5. detainee and court-related services; and

6. auxiliary and technical services.

Source: calea.org

“Without that stamp or seal of approval, there would be nobody here at the university outside of the president or vice president that could look at our policing activities and determine that we’re doing things in the best possible way that we could do that,” she said.

The department is encouraging community members to participate at 5:30 p.m. on August 12 in room 304 of the Student Center.

The meeting will give the community a venue to voice praises or concerns about the department to the accreditation assessors, officials say.

Those who cannot attend the meeting can also comment by calling 330-672-1037 from 1 to 4 p.m. August 12. These calls are private and are received only by the assessors.

Shefchuk said the public input, whether positive or negative, helps the CALEA assessors examine how the department interacts with the community.

“It’s for the public, where students, faculty, staff and people in the community can either call in or come to that public meeting and make comments on our policing and if they think we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing,” Shefchuk said. “If they have criticism of that, that’s the time for them to voice those opinions to our assessors so they can properly look at our policies and procedures and how we’re acting with you and with the community and with the students here.”

If the department is granted reaccreditation again, it will be the seventh consecutive time. The Kent State Police Department has also been recognized as a Flagship Agency three times and is the first collegiate police department to be awarded that status, according to the Kent State Police Department webpage.

Contact Rebecca Reis at [email protected].