Bristol's police force now state and nationally accredited
The Bristol Police Department is the fifth police department in the State of Rhode Island to earn state accreditation.
"It's very much like hospital accreditation," explained Christine Crocker, executive director of the Rhode Island Police Accreditation Commission (RIPAC). "An agency has to provide proof and documentation that they adhere to the policies and standards set forth by the commission.
"You wouldn't have surgery done in a hospital that wasn't accredited would you?"
Ms. Crocker presented Bristol Police Chief Josue Canario with a plaque during the Town Council meeting Feb. 12.
The in-state accreditation program was initiated by the Rhode Island Police Chief's Association in 2009, as an effort to bring uniformity to all police departments, Ms. Crocker said.
RIPAC was formed as a non-profit organization under the RI Police Chief's Association, and in 2012, the Rhode Island Law Enforcement Accreditation Program was officially established. Rhode Island is the 25th state to create such a program.
"This does not happen by accident or luck," Chief Canario told councilors. "This is all done through hard work, dedication and professionalism from each and every member of the Bristol Police Department."
There are 43 agencies that have signed on to participate in the program. To achieve accreditation, the agencies will have to show their adherence to RIPAC's 200 standards and policies.
The five agencies that have earned in-state accreditation have also earned national accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement (CALEA). Bristol was re-accredited by CALEA for a third time last November.
A CALEA accredited agency needs to show compliance with 480 standards.
"Those agencies only have to show adherence to 12 of our standards, which are state-specific," Ms. Crocker said. "One standard that (Rhode Island) has that CALEA does not is that agencies need to set a policy on social media that addresses the use of social media by officers on and off duty."
Like CALEA, participation in the state program is voluntary.