What is Accreditation?
International Accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA)/ Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission (PLEAC)
Accreditation ensures compliance with written standards, which are monitored by outside professionals through a series of remote and in-person evaluations. There are state and international levels of accreditation. International accreditation was created in 1979 as a credentialing authority through the joint efforts of law enforcement’s major executive associations such as:
International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)
National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE)
National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) and the
Police Executive Research Forum (PERF).
In 2003, The Abington Township Police Department became the first police department in Pennsylvania to be accredited by the Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission (PLEAC) and in 2004, the department received International Accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). Abington was the first Department in Pennsylvania to achieve State accreditation and is one of only three departments out of over 1,100 State law enforcement agencies to have earned five reaccreditations. Abington Township Police Department is one of only three agencies in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to achieve both awards and maintained dual accreditation status for the last 17 years.
In December 2019, APD was recognized for having been accredited for 15 or more continuous years and awarded an enhanced Certificate of Meritorious Accreditation, displaying a blue “Meritorious” ribbon and an inscription proclaiming their 15 or more years of accredited status.
The accreditation program provides law enforcement agencies an opportunity to voluntarily demonstrate that they meet an established set of professional standards and best practices which require an agency to develop a comprehensive, well thought out, uniform set of best practices. It provides necessary reports and analyses that the Chief of Police needs in order to make fact-based, informed management decisions. Of the more than 1,100 agencies in Pennsylvania, Abington is one of only 6 that is fully accredited by both CALEA and PLEAC. We feel accreditation strengthens our accountability, both within the Abington Township Police Department and the Abington Community, through a continuum of standards that clearly define authority, performance and responsibilities.
The leadership of the Abington Township Police Department recognized 12 years prior to the 2015 publication of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, that ‘law enforcement agencies should have clear and comprehensive policies on the use of force including training on the importance of de-escalation’ and ‘to ensure policies are maintained and current, law enforcement agencies are encouraged to periodically review policies and procedures.’ Abington Township Police Officers have been trained to recognize and mitigate Bias Based Policing since 2004 (APD Policy 1.2.4) Also, de-escalation training and policies have been the standard since the early 2000’s (APD Policies 1.3.4; 1.39.b; 41.2.3a; 41.3.8a).