Columbia Police Department is working to become accredited by The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. The Police Department held the second Police Policy Public Review and Input meeting Thursday to discuss policy changes required for accreditation.
CALEA accreditation sets standards for police department policy, said Columbia Police Department spokesperson Jeffery Pitts. Currently, MU Police Department is the only agency in Boone County with this accreditation.
While this accreditation is not required for police departments, Police Chief Geoff Jones said, “CALEA accreditation gives us a standard to go by so that we are meeting best practices. It helps streamline operations and make sure that there aren’t gaps. Until we go through that process and learn where gaps are we sometimes overlook those.”
Pitts said the Police Department is in the process of reworking its policies. Its wants to include the public in this self assessment before CALEA reviews these policies and determines if the Police Department meets accreditation standards.
“I’ve said from the beginning that I’m not going to keep any secrets and I want people to understand what we’re doing and why we’re doing it, and improve communications and transparency. This is just an effort to promote that and get public feedback,” Jones said.
The first public review, held Feb. 13, had very little promotion and public attendance. Pitts said the department did not notify media, but sent emails to community groups, such as neighborhood associations and the local NAACP chapter. He said the Police Department increased promotions for Thursday’s meeting and will continue to work to improve awareness and attendance.
Jones said the next meeting is expected to be scheduled in the upcoming weeks.