December 14, 2007
Ball State University's commitment to improve campus safety recently took a major step forward when its police department received accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), based in Fairfax, Va.
The university's Department of Public Safety thus becomes the first such unit at a college or university in Indiana to receive the organization's national stamp of approval. In order to receive accreditation, Ball State police had to demonstrate compliance with more than 400 CALEA benchmarks.
CALEA approved Ball State's accreditation during its fall conference in Colorado Springs, Colo. The commission has accredited about 600 police agencies, including 47 campus law enforcement departments.
"After an intense review program that has lasted about 36 months, every member of the department is proud to say we've achieved a major milestone in our history," said Gene Burton, Ball State's public safety director. "In our field, accreditation is highly valued and, in this case, speaks loudly to the high professional standards we have set for the department.
"It also says to the campus and Muncie communities that our department is committed to be the best it can be. We will continue to strive to maintain and enhance the high standards established by accreditation."
The goals of the accreditation process include strengthening crime prevention and control capabilities, formalizing essential management procedures, establishing fair and nondiscriminatory personnel practices, improving service delivery, solidifying interagency cooperation and coordination, and boosting citizen and staff confidence in the department.
The purpose of the commission's accreditation program is to improve delivery of law enforcement service by prescribing professional standards developed by law enforcement practitioners and covering a wide range of up-to-date law enforcement topics.
The last step in the process occurred in August when it hosted a CALEA accreditation team that thoroughly reviewed the department during a two-day visit. The team examined all aspects of the agency's policies and procedures, management, operations and support services.
The department must now submit annual reports to the commission attesting to compliance in order to maintain its status. Ball State will apply for reaccreditation in 2010.