In April 2018, the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety (KDPS) started the accreditation process for the Michigan Law Enforcement Accreditation Program (MLEAP). Seeking accreditation is a proactive measure to ensure that KDPS is providing the best services to our community and operating within established best practices for policing.
Police Accreditation is a voluntary program that's primary focus is for departments in Michigan to operate efficiently, effectively, and within best policing practice. It is a progressive and time-proven way of helping law enforcement agencies calculate and improve their overall performances. Out of the almost 600 police agencies in Michigan, there are only 24 accredited agencies. Over 30 additional agencies are currently in the accreditation process.
The Michigan accreditation program has identified 107 standards that accredited agencies must meet and maintain. The standards cover high risk, high liability areas such as Use of Force, Vehicle Pursuits, Foot Pursuits, and Search and Seizure. They also cover areas that are needed to build legitimacy both internally and externally within a Department such as Hiring Processes, Command Structure, Handling of Complaints, Equipment, Officer Training, Workplace Harassment and Reporting Requirements.
To become accredited, an agency must go through a critical assessment by trained assessors to ensure that the department is following the standards mandated for accreditation. Additionally, accredited agencies must seek re-accreditation every three years. As part of the accreditation process, departments must show yearly "proofs" that they are complying with their policies.
As part of the accreditation process KDPS did a complete policy overhaul, taking a comprehensive look at all our policies to ensure they met accreditation standards. Out of date information was updated, new policies were created, and old policies were discarded. The department then held training with all officers to ensure they knew what was expected.
Another accreditation requirement for agencies is to conduct a "meaningful review" of ALL use of force incidents, vehicle pursuits, foot pursuits, officer-involved accidents, and on-the-job injuries.
A meaningful review looks at 5 things:
This review involves reviewing police reports, reviewing camera footage, and interviewing officers and civilians. The Office of Professional Standards additionally does a secondary review of these incidents.
Accreditation also mandates specific training and oversight. On an annual basis, the Department must conduct an analysis on all employee misconduct, conduct an audit of the property/evidence room, provide performance evaluations for all employees, and complete a summary and analysis of all Use of Force Incidents, Vehicle Pursuits, and Foot pursuits. Annual use of force and firearms training is also required. Every 2 years officers must receive training in less lethal weapons and subject control and officers must receive training in ethics, bias influenced policing, mental health protocols and care of detainees every 3 years.
KDPS's goal was to achieve accreditation in June 2020, but a necessary on-site assessment scheduled for April was cancelled as a result of COVID-19. KDPS now hopes to achieve accreditation by the end of 2020. If successful, KDPS will be the largest accredited agency in Michigan.
More information to include all of the required accreditation standards can be found by clicking on the accreditation tab at www.michiganpolicechiefs.org.