Accreditation, More Than Just a Sticker
Many times I'll hear people talk about accreditation and a comment will come around something to the effect of: "Accreditation? What, do you just want another sticker for your car?" There seems to be a prevailing idea that the only benefit to accreditation is showing off that your agency is accredited. While I agree that letting the public know you are accredited is important, it adds to legitimacy and helps build trust. If that is all we are thinking about, we are missing a large portion of what accreditation is and does for agencies.
What people may fail to see is the fact that accreditation is a tool for agencies to use, not just an award. When was the last time your agency's policies were reviewed? Are they up to date with current changes in best practices and legal requirements? Accreditation helps ensure that you are staying ahead of the curve when it comes to these issues. When changes in these areas occur, the accreditation standards change and act as a catalyst for improvement in your agency. The on-site and policy review required by accreditation may seem like a test, but in reality, it's a group of supportive people who can offer an outside perspective and possibly identify areas of positive change. Their suggestions come from their experience viewing countless other policies and departments and seeing what works and what doesn't. We've all been somewhere and thought, "That's a great idea! Why didn't I think of that?" Accreditation brings those ideas to you.
What people may fail to see is the fact that accreditation is a tool for agencies to use, not just an award.
Unfortunately, like most things in the world, these benefits don't come free. An agency must commit to becoming accredited and put in the effort beforehand to reap the rewards. And while you might not agree with every aspect of accreditation requirements, these are small prices to pay for the overall benefit accreditation offers. (And no, you don't need a new police station to achieve accreditation.) Yes, the sticker is nice, but when you see that sticker, you should think of the wealth of information and experience it represents.
While the work can never completely go away, Aspirant Consulting Group makes the process of achieving accreditation as simple as possible. Our experience and track record make our name synonymous with accreditation. Our goal is to help you achieve accreditation and identify the goals of your agency and achieve those as well.
Written by John D. String
John D. String - is a Lieutenant with the Lower Merion Township Police Department in Montgomery County, PA. He is currently assigned to the Department’s Patrol Division as a Watch Commander and held previous positions with the Departments Staff and Inspections Unit, Canine Unit, and served as a Field Training Officer. He is a graduate of Northwestern University’s School of Police Staff and Command, completed FBI-LEEDA’s supervisor and command level training, Penn State University’s POSIT course, and several additional leadership and liability training courses. In 2016 he was trained as an accreditation manager and then as an assessor in 2017. While assigned to the Department’s Staff and Inspections Unit he supervised the Department’s PLEAC and CALEA reaccreditations. John holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Public Administration from Arkansas State University.