On February 9, 2000, the University of South Florida
Police Department (USFPD) was awarded accredited status by the Commission
for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation, Inc. The Commission's goal
is to increase professionalism in the law enforcement community by requiring
agencies to establish and follow written protocols for agency operations.
The Florida accreditation program was designed with consideration for
the following goals: To establish and maintain standards that represent
current professional law enforcement practice; To increase effectiveness
and efficiency in the delivery of law enforcement services; To establish
standards that address and reduce liability for the agency and its members;
and To establish standards that make an agency and its personnel accountable
to the constituency they serve.
USFPD entered into this process voluntarily and received
the Commission's standards manual containing 261 standards encompassing
specific facets of law enforcement management, operations, and support
functions. The agency completed a rigorous self-assessment phase, making
it a candidate for accredited status. During a three-day evaluation process,
a team of law enforcement professional examined issues that directly related
to standards and determined the level of agency compliance. The assessment
team based its determination on the records provided by the agency, observations
made while on-site, and interactions with members and the community. Public
information activities were scheduled and advertised, providing any interested
citizen or member of the agency with an opportunity to have their comments
recorded concerning the agency's ability to comply with applicable standards.
A final report of the assessment process was submitted the Commission,
the granting authority for accredited status, for their review.
All comments and correspondence received throughout the
course of the assessment became a permanent part of the final report.
Benefits of Accreditation: Accreditation increases the law enforcement
agency's ability to prevent and control crime through more effective efficient
delivery of law enforcement services to the community it serves. Accreditation
enhances community understanding of the law enforcement agency and its
role in the community as well as the agency's goals and objectives. Citizen
confidence in the policies and practices of the agency is increased. Accreditation
creates a forum in which police and citizen work together to control and
prevent crime. This partnership will help citizens to understand the challenges
that confront law enforcement. Law enforcement will, in turn, receive
clear direction from the community about its expectation. Thus a common
set of goals and objectives can be arrived at and implemented.
Accreditation serves as a yardstick to measure the effectiveness
of the agency's programs and service. The services provided are defined,
and uniformity of service is assured. Accreditation policies address officer
safety issues and provide for adequate training and equipment of the officers.
Accreditation is a coveted award that symbolizes professionalism, excellence,
and competence. Members will take pride in their agency, knowing that
it represents the very best in law enforcement.