The Value and Benefits of Law Enforcement Accreditation




Bridgwater, Bill

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Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)



In the United States today, policing is a subject of heated debate and sometimes even violent protest. The use of deadly force by police in recent years has added to the platform of those who want to condemn law enforcement and given momentum to their message. While some are busy painting a picture depicting police as trigger-happy and sometimes racist, others are equally as busy defending the establishment of law enforcement and fighting the message that police misconduct is a systemic problem. One of the most effective ways of improving the overall professionalism and transparency within a law enforcement agency is voluntary participation in a best practices accreditation program. Nothing says “transparency” more than inviting administrators from outside of an agency to inspect every aspect of the agency seeking accreditation. Although the process of becoming accredited is difficult and sometimes costly, the benefits far outweigh the expense. Accredited agencies have been proven to experience reductions in misconduct and use of force as well as substantial reductions in litigation costs (Alpert & MacDonald, 2001, p.407). Becoming accredited and/or recognized for being compliant with law enforcement best practices sends the message to the community, the governing body, the media, and anyone who wishes to attack the integrity of an agency that this police department’s policies, training, and operations have been evaluated, scrutinized, and has earned the status of credibility that accreditation brings.


Police--Accreditation, Police--Standards