Greenwood police

Greenwood police will be under heavy scrutiny this month, as an accreditation assessment team judges the department on hundreds of standards to determine if the agency gets to keep its more than two decadeslong accreditation status.

The department first earned accreditation in March 1998 from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, a nationwide, private accreditation company that scrutinizes an agency’s policies, procedures, management, operations and support services. CALEA’s standards shift to reflect the ever-developing best practices in the field of law enforcement.

“It’s not so much about what it affords the agency, so much as what it does for the community we serve,” said Greenwood police public information officer Jonathan Link.

The accreditation team will arrive Tuesday to begin scrutinizing the agency, according to a news release from the police department. As part of the assessment, the assessment team will hear public comment at 1 p.m. Nov. 14 at the municipal courtroom at 520 Monument St. The public is invited to come and offer comments, but if people aren’t able to make it they can still comment from 2-3 p.m. Nov. 13 by calling 864-942-8494 to contact the assessment team.

“Simply put, we must attempt to comply with 463 standards,” said Police Chief Gerald Brooks in the release. “The standards address nine major areas of law enforcement: role, responsibilities and relationships with other agencies; organization, management and administration; personnel structure; personnel process; operations; operational support; traffic operations; prisoner and court-related activities; and auxiliary and technical services.”

The CALEA team, composed of law enforcement officials from other states, will be here for four days as they review documents, interview people and visit sites where compliance can be evaluated, the release said. Then the team will report back to the full commission at its meeting in March in Orlando, Florida.

If the police department is awarded reaccreditation, officials will still have to submit annual compliance reports and seek renewal of the accreditation every four years.

“It’s a team effort year-round to ensure we’re meeting our standards and that our standards match up to the latest in best practices,” said Maj. Jeff Crisp, the police department’s accreditation manager. “It’s one thing to say we believe we’re doing a good job following policies and procedures. It’s monumentally different to have this outside accrediting agency come in and say that.”

The work that goes into meeting accreditation standards is a constant process of assessing the police department’s practices and policies, and making sure those policies are up to date and match ever-shifting best practices. Brooks said in the release, accreditation assures residents that they’re getting the best service their tax dollars can buy.

For information on accreditation or to see a copy of the 463 standards CALEA assesses, call Crisp at 864-942-8484. CALEA’s website is calea.org.

Contact staff writer Damian Dominguez at 864-634-7548 or follow on Twitter @IJDDOMINGUEZ.