The University of Southern Mississippi’s Police Department recently received national accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). The accreditation was awarded for Southern Miss UPD’s excellence in several aspects of law enforcement including everything from emergency response to management.
According to CALEA’s official website, in order to receive accreditation, an agency must have a well developed set of written directives and an enforced preparedness program in the event of “natural or man-made unusual occurrences.”
UPD Capt. Charles Chandler said in a USM press release that the accreditation is a representation of the department’s commitment to uphold the highest of standards.
“The process of accreditation is something that all members of the department are responsible for,” Chandler said. “Each of (us) contributes in some fashion large or small to our success in accreditation, and to our success in the field.”
Chandler said the department had to meet around 170 of CALEA’s standards to receive the accreditation, and that the accreditation itself is both impressive and beneficial for a campus police department that has only been in operation since the 1990s.
“To have an agency come in and confirm that the department is performing at such a level is definitely a good thing,” Chandler said. “We believe that this well represents the university.”
Part of the accreditation process consisted of about four days in December when out-of-state assessors came to the university and evaluated the UPD’s current strong and weak points within each of CALEA’s standards to determine if the department is functioning at a level that meets the accreditation requirements.
Chandler further explained in a press release that the process is ongoing, with out-of-state assessors examining each aspect of the department every three years to verify the overall upholding of the required standards. Also, the UPD reviews and analyzes different areas of its operations, training and procedures every year.
For more information about Southern Miss UPD, call 601.266.4986 or visit http://www.usm.edu/police.