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ASU Police Department selected as flagship agency


December 15, 2008

The ASU Police Department has been selected as a flagship agency by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, representing one of only eight campus law enforcement agencies throughout the country to receive this designation.

 “This honor is indicative of the hard work and dedication that the ASU Police Department exhibits every day as they work to keep students, faculty, staff and visitors to the university’s four campuses safe and secure,” says ASU President Michael Crow.  

Flagship agencies are selected by the commission based primarily on their past performance. Factors that are considered in the determination of a flagship agency include: a minimum of two previous consecutive accreditation awards; no conditions or noncompliance issues on current or most recent award; and no current issues involving life, safety and security standards. 

“We’re honored to be selected as a flagship agency. This designation reflects the dedication to excellence that ASU Police Department officers, aides, staff and administrators continually demonstrate. It also illustrates the university’s commitment to providing a safe environment for the ASU community,” says ASU Police Chief John Pickens.  

The ASU Police Department was granted flagship status after reaccreditation proceedings by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. During proceedings, all aspects of the department’s policy and procedures, management, operations and support services were examined to verify that the university police department meets the commission’s standards.  On-site assessors examine 460 standards to determine if an agency is in compliance by talking to agency personnel, examining files and talking to members of the university community. A public information session allows members of the community to comment, says Karen Shepard, Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies program manager.   

“We recognize that a safe campus is the only acceptable living, learning and working environment at Arizona State University. Clearly, the investment of resources in additional staff and state-of-the-art communications technology matched by the dedication of the entire ASU Police Department has been recognized by CALEA,” says Paul Ward, Vice President for University Administration and General Counsel.

Selected flagship agencies are invited to provide an exhibit at a Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies conference to showcase agency materials, offer networking opportunities, talk about issues and offer suggestions to other law enforcement officials from across the country. Flagship agencies receive an official certificate and are recognized on the commission’s Web site and in CALEA Update magazine.

“The assessment team was very impressed with the integration of the (ASU) Police Department into the fabric of the university and the university’s commitment to the police department, as seen by the level of involvement by university officials during the on-site visit,” wrote Capt. Mark L. Brooks, of the Shelby, N.C., Police Department in a Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies report on the ASU Police Department.  

Other factors cited in the report include:

• It is commendable that the agency takes the attitude that because of the ASU community, it encourages officers to exercise alternatives to arrest that would be less damaging to the person’s future, especially for minor and first-time offenses. Their policy states that “in most situations, arrest and incarceration should be considered an act of last resort.”

• The ASU Police Department has taught active shooter protocols to students, faculty and staff for the past three years. Practical exercises include a pan flu simulation; two active shooter exercises and a weapons of mass destruction exercise.

• The department used force in 1 percent or less of cases during the years under review from 2005-2007.

• ASU’s Police Department provides safety services for one of the nation’s largest universities and a level-one research institution in the fifth largest city in the United States with students from approximately 120 countries, 15,000 faculty and staff, 35 residential complexes, 600 houses and more than 1,000 research and classroom laboratories.

• The Tempe campus regularly hosts high-profile visitors including members of the U.S. Congress, Supreme Court justices, foreign dignitaries and controversial writers and speakers.

• Special events that have taken place at the Tempe campus include national college football championship games, NCAA regional championships and national political debates.

• The ASU Police Department in conjunction with university administration and legal affairs has engaged in strategic planning in order to anticipate future changes and implement strategies to address these issues. This planning has resulted in a five-year strategic plan that is a roadmap for the agency and university.

“The bottom line is that they have done a very nice job with their accreditation program and their agency,” Shepard says.

Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies accreditation programs allow public safety agencies to voluntarily demonstrate that they meet an established set of professionally recognized standards leading to excellence in management and service delivery, according to the commission’s Web site.

“Your agency’s reaccreditation represents the satisfactory completion of a continuous process of thorough agency wide self-evaluation, concluded by an exacting outside review by a team of independent assessors,” wrote Sylvester Daughtry, Jr., and James M. O’Dell, executive director and chair of the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.  

The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies of Fairfax, Va., was established as an independent accrediting authority in 1979 by the four major law enforcement executive associations: International Association of Chiefs of Police; National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives; National Sheriffs’ Association and Police Executive Research Forum.Fairfax, Va., was established as an independent accrediting authority in 1979 by the four major law enforcement executive associations: International Association of Chiefs of Police; National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives; National Sheriffs’ Association and Police Executive Research Forum.