Campus police receive honor

Sean Joseph

The Kent State Police Department received flagship status this year after being reaccredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, something no other college campus in the country has received.

This was the first year the commission gave any police department flagship status, the highest accreditation any police department can receive. Only about 20 stations in the country received the honor, said Dean Tondiglia, assistant chief of the Kent State Police Department.

To be accredited, the campus police department had to meet 446 standards chosen by the commission, ranging from firearm procedures to directing traffic. Because the commission did not find any reason to correct the department, the department received flagship status, said Chief John Peach of the Kent State Police Department.

The campus police department has been accredited since 1991 and is the only police department at a public university in Ohio that has ever been accredited, Peach said.

Every police department does not go through the process of accreditation because there is not a big financial return for the effort, Peach said.

“The general standard is if the community seems to be pleased with their police and the department is getting along with the community, then they are doing a good job,” Peach said.

Accreditation is a big investment in time and money for any police department, Peach said. It requires the best equipment, training, and security and updating of all police records.

“Since this is an institution of higher learning, which embraces accreditation, it is a process supported and encouraged by the university,” Peach said. “In municipalities, political leaders don’t always see the need for it.”

Peach compared a police department going through the process of accreditation to a student going through college.

“You may be an extremely bright and gifted individual, but how do you know? You go to college, work hard and get awarded with a degree,” he said.

Tondiglia has been in charge of overseeing the reaccredidation process since 2000. The process includes going through every function of the department no matter how big or small and making sure everything is done according to the commission’s procedural standards.

“Quality is ingrained in every staff member and officer in this department,” Tondiglia said. “Students, parents, faculty and staff can expect us to provide the highest standards of law enforcement.”

The commission represents all major law enforcement agencies including 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, Tondiglia said.

Contact safety reporter Sean Joseph at [email protected].