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Federal Way Police earn coveted certification for meeting standards

Federal Way police are among the best of the best, according to a recent review.

For the third time, the police department has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA).

The coveted certification signifies the department is dedicated to meeting professional standards designed to strengthen administration, operation, community relationships, public safety services and accountability.

The department was reviewed by CALEA in August and awarded the accreditation Dec. 6.

“(CALEA commissioners) had very positive things and were happy with what they saw,” said Laurie Jackson, Federal Way Police CALEA coordinator.

The group accredits law enforcement agencies nationally and internationally.

Each assessment covers a three-year period. Federal Way is one of approximately 14 Washington agencies that have been recognized in 2008 for upholding the standards, Jackson said.

The accreditation reviewed the department’s actions from 2005 through 2007 and measured the department against 460 policing standards. Of these, Federal Way met 307 mandatory and 67 non-mandatory standards.

“For the citizens, it means they can be assured their police department performs the best of the best practices in all law enforcement services,” Chief Brian Wilson said.

Among the standards evaluated were Federal Way’s weapons training, use of force, bias-based profiling and grievances policies, among other things.

It took public comments, went on police ride-alongs, reviewed records and talked to community leaders, such as Federal Way School District Superintendent Tom Murphy and Federal Way Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Pierson, as part of the accreditation process.

CALEA determined the department’s weapons training and use of force policy are adequate.

The department keeps detailed records of its training procedures and officers are well-trained with their weapons, according to the assessment report. It comprehensively documents each time lethal and non-lethal use of force is issued, according to the assessment.

Bias-based profiling is prohibited among Federal Way police. Training and yearly reviews of citizens’ concerns about profiling are undergone. In the three-year time period, five complaints regarding bias profiling were received, according to the assessment. Three took place in 2005 and two in 2007. All were exonerated.

Additionally, a system used to identify when the behavior or actions of police officers or personnel may require adjustments is in place. The early warning system documents citizen complaints, improper use of force, inability or unwillingness to perform job tasks and poor interactions with coworkers. A working disciplinary system has been established, according to the assessment.

Meeting CALEA standards requires police personnel to closely track procedures and clearly define policies. Accreditation requires detailed record-keeping and a commitment from all personnel to strive to achieve best practices, Wilson said.

“It’s really detailed,” Wilson said. “It’s a challenging process.”

Federal Way was first awarded a CALEA accreditation under former police chief Anne Kirkpatrick in 2002. Chief Wilson served as deputy chief at that time.

Contact writer: jhoward@federalwaymirror.com or (253) 925-5565.

Check it out:

To learn more about CALEA, visit www.calea.org.

Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies

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