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Back to Archives | Back to May 2005 Contents 

CALEA Celebrates 25 Years

Sylvester Daughtry Jr., Executive Director, Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Fairfax, Virginia

he Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc. (CALEA) celebrated its 25th anniversary at the CALEA conference in Austin, Texas, December 1-4, 2004. Almost 1,200 attendees participated in three days of CALEA training classes and a variety of workshops on topics of interest to all public safety executives and personnel. The commission reviewed the initial accreditations/recognitions and reaccreditations for 92 candidate agencies, presented a 25th Anniversary Awards Program, and threw a superb celebration banquet. The local hosts for this historic occasion were the Austin Police Department, the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education (TCLEOSE), and the Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico (TALON) Police Accreditation Coalition.

The commission’s chair and president, Chief James O’Dell of the Kettering, Ohio, Police Department, joined CALEA’s executive director, Sylvester Daughtry Jr., to present the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) with an Appreciation Award during the awards program. IACP President Joseph Estey and Executive Director Dan Rosenblatt accepted the award on behalf of the association.

CALEA also launched three new continuing awards at the Austin conference. These special awards pay tribute to individual chief executive officers and agencies or governmental entities that have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to CALEA and the accreditation process.

In recognition of long service to both the law enforcement profession and CALEA, the Egon Bittner Award is presented to chief executive officers of agencies accredited by CALEA for 15 or more continuous years. The 2004 recipients of the Egon Bittner Award are Chief Kenneth R. Burns, Lebanon, Ohio, Division of Police; Chief Charlie T. Deane, Prince William County, Virginia, Police Department; Chief Darrell L. Fant, Highland Park, Texas, Department of Public Safety; Chief Steven R. Harris, Redmond, Washington, Police Department; Chief Leo C. McCann, retired from Buffalo Grove, Illinois, Police Department and currently at the Skokie, Illinois, Police Department; Chief James M. O’Dell, Kettering, Ohio, Police Department; Sheriff Everett S. Rice, formerly of the Pinellas County, Florida, Sheriff’s Office; Chief Walter A. Ugrinic, Shaker Heights, Ohio, Police Department; and Chief Grafton L. Wells Jr., retired from the Staunton, Virginia, Police Department.

This award is named for Dr. Egon Bittner, who in 1979-1980 greatly contributed to CALEA’s early development and was a CALEA commissioner from 1981 through 1988.

The James V. Cotter Award is for chief executive officers who have successfully brought three or more new agencies into CALEA accredited status. The 2004 recipient is Chief Donald L. Carey, Melbourne, Florida, Police Department, who brought the following agencies into CALEA law enforcement accreditation: Blacksburg, Virginia, Police Department (1993); Independence, Missouri, Police Department (1996); and the Omaha, Nebraska, Police Department (2001).
This award is named for James V. Cotter, who came to CALEA in 1980 as the first executive director and is credited with having the foresight and diplomatic skills to form the coalitions that developed the standards, bylaws, and procedures that evolved into the current Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc.

The CALEA TRI-ARC Excellence Award was created to recognize entities that concurrently hold all three CALEA accreditation awards: law enforcement accreditation, public safety communications accreditation, and public safety training academy accreditation. The first recipients of the CALEA TRI-ARC Excellence Award were the Knoxville Police Department; the Knoxville Police Training Academy; the Knox County Emergency Communications District; and the City of Knoxville, Tennessee, for its leadership in public safety.

On hand to accept the awards were Chief Sterling Owen IV, who accepted the award for the Knoxville Police Department and the City of Knoxville; Lieutenant Donald Jones and Sergeant Keith DeBow, who accepted the award for the just accredited Knoxville Police Training Academy; and Director Barry Furey, who accepted the award on behalf of the Knox County Emergency Communication District.

There are 690 internationally CALEA accredited and recognized agencies, including 545 state/provincial and local/municipal police departments, with at least one credentialing award from CALEA.

CALEA was established as an independent accrediting authority in 1979 by the four major law enforcement executive associations: the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP); the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE); the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA); and the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF). These organizations joined together to provide the research and technical expertise, management and administrative staff, and office accommodations to develop and implement a law enforcement accreditation program.

The executive directors of these four associations appoint members to the commission annually. The commission has 21 members; at least 11 commissioners are law enforcement professionals, and the balance represents other governmental areas and the private sector. The commission is not a part of, or obligated to, any governmental body. Its authority is derived solely from voluntary participation in CALEA’s credentialing programs.

The purpose of the commission is to establish standards of professional excellence for public safety agencies and to develop and administer a process for recognizing professional excellence. Seeking to establish the best professional practices for every agency, the standards prescribe what agencies should be doing and leave it up to the individual agency and its chief executive officer to determine how they should do it.

The commission’s staff manages the credentialing process from application through accreditation/recognition, and later reaccreditation/re-recognition, for all the credentialing programs CALEA now offers: law enforcement accreditation, public safety communications accreditation, public safety training academy accreditation, and CALEA Recognition, a program designed for smaller law enforcement agencies. Under the leadership of an executive director, the staff provides guidance to agencies in the accreditation and recognition process, conducts training, serves as liaison between clients and the commission, and handles the business operations.

The benefits of CALEA law enforcement accreditation have long been established:

•     Formalize essential management procedures
•     Strengthen crime prevention and control capabilities
•     Establish fair and nondiscriminatory personnel practices   
•     Improve service delivery
•     Solidify interagency cooperation and coordination
•     Increase accountability throughout the agency

As one of the founding organizations that worked to establish CALEA, the IACP has been a guiding influence over the last quarter-century in developing standards of professional excellence for the law enforcement community. CALEA depends on and looks forward to a long-continuing relationship.


From The Police Chief, vol. 72, no. 5, May 2005. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.

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