On July 20, 2021, the Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) was informed by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) that it had been awarded its tenth consecutive accreditation. The CSPD has been an accredited law enforcement agency since 1991 and is one of the state’s longest-serving accredited agencies.
CALEA was started by four major law enforcement professional organizations: The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), and the National Sheriff’s Association (NSA). Since its inception, CALEA has become widely recognized as being the International Gold Standard for Public Safety Agencies.
The purpose of CALEA’s accreditation program is to improve the delivery of public safety services, primarily by: maintaining a body of standards developed by public safety practitioners, covering a wide range of up-to-date public safety initiatives, establishing and administering an accreditation process, and recognizing professional excellence. In addition, CALEA seeks to continuously identify trends, as well as provide insight into the best practices to address topics affecting the law enforcement profession.
On an annual basis, CSPD representatives conduct a thorough self-assessment of more than 181 policies, practices, and processes to ensure they meet or exceed standards established by CALEA. Many of these reviews center around areas of local and national importance, to include but not limited to the department’s training requirements, use of force practices, vehicle pursuits, organizational management, patrol responses, and investigative procedures. CALEA then conducts an independent evaluation of the self-assessment to ensure compliance in each of these areas. The process culminates with CALEA conducting an on-site assessment every four years, during which they further evaluate the department’s processes and conduct meetings with members of the local community.
At the conclusion of this year’s on-site assessment, which was conducted virtually as a result of the pandemic, the CALEA assessors completed a report detailing their findings. This report was then made available to the CALEA commissioners for consideration, who determined the CSPD met the organization’s standards and granted accredited status.
This significant accomplishment demonstrates the CSPD’s continued commitment to excellence and professionalism in law enforcement by partnering with the community to enhance public safety and quality of life in Colorado Springs. In learning of the successful accreditation process, Chief of Police Vince Niski said, “The police department has been an accredited agency for 30 years, so it is engrained in our culture. By having CALEA independently evaluate the police department and the services it provides, we are able to continually evaluate our processes and improve how we serve our community. We are humbled to have received such a prestigious accreditation and we look forward to continuing to learn from the processes associated with it.”
This accreditation was effective on July 16, 2021, and will remain in effect for the next four years.