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UMB Police Force Reaccredited, Wins Meritorious Award

The University of Maryland, Baltimore Police Force recently was reaccredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) for the fifth consecutive time. Because this run of excellence extends more than 15 years, the UMB Police Force also received a meritorious accreditation.

Antonio "Tony" Williams, MS, chief of police and assistant vice president for public safety at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), said CALEA's recognition made him feel "very proud."

"What the reaccreditation says about our police force is that the University of Maryland, Baltimore and our department are committed to providing quality police service to our University community," said Williams. "I think our ability to achieve and maintain accreditation is testimony not only to the great men and women that comprise our Department of Public Safety but also to all the people who go to school here and who work here, because it takes all of us to do it."

CALEA is a nonprofit organization that came into existence in 1979 in response to the demand of the American public for improved professional policing. It started with four founding organizations - the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Sheriffs Association, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, and then the Police Executive Research Forum, or PERF for short.

Williams says CALEA provides various forms of three-year accreditations now after five-year accreditations until 2001. "Some departments might pursue accreditation for their police training academy or specifically for their communications operations," he said. "Our agency does law enforcement accreditation, which applies to both our sworn police officers and our non-sworn security guards. It isn't easy. There are 481 standards CALEA requires you to meet. Their assessors review files, review policies, they look for proof youýre meeting all the standards, ride along in police cars, and talk to people in the street and at town halls. It's a rigorous process."

But it's one the UMB Police Force has excelled at since its initial accreditation in 1996, putting it in some rare company. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, there are 18,000 law enforcement agencies in the United States. At CALEA's conference in November, only 40 received meritorious acknowledgment.

And yes, pursuing accreditation is voluntary and some police departments are unwilling to spend the money and manpower to attain it. But it's still a big deal, so much so that the University System of Maryland (USM) Board of Regents in 2008 mandated that all USM police departments be accredited by September 2013 or report why they weren't accredited. So Towson University and the University of Baltimore police departments have just been accredited for the first time while UMB, being ahead of the curve, received its fifth reaccreditation and sixth accreditation overall.

Williams, who in January celebrated his fourth anniversary at UMB, knew he had some big shoes to fill. "Chief Cleveland Barnes had set the bar very high for me in various ways including accreditation. Quite frankly when I came here from UMBC the only thing I knew about accreditation was what I had read about it," Williams said. "But with the help of a great leadership team - including Milland Reed, our assistant chief of police, and Portia Swinson, our accreditation manager, who is also a certified CALEA accessor - and the support of the University leadership and its staff and students, we have continued to meet our goals, including accreditation. I couldn't be happier about it."
Posting Date: 02/27/2014
Contact Name: Chris Zang
Contact Phone: 410-706-2074
Contact Email: czang001@umaryland.eduz