The West Haven Police Department is looking to get reaccredited, and looking toward a process that will give them the best opportunity to serve residents, according to information provided this week.
A team of assessors from the Police Officers Standards and Training Council (POSTC) will come to the city next month to begin the process of certifying the city’s department. April 5 is the target date for the process to begin, and members of the community are invited to join in the process. Once completed, the examination leads to the WHPD as qualifying for Tier I of the State Accreditation Standards.
“Verification by the team that the West Haven Police Department meets the POST Council’s state-of-the-art Accreditation Standards is part of a voluntary process to gain accreditation—a highly prized recognition of law enforcement professional excellence,” the announcing press release noted.
Lt. Joseph Romano, spokesman for the WHPD, answers questions concerning the accreditation, and what the agency hopes to accomplish in the upcoming weeks.
“The West Haven Police Department has a long-standing reputation as being recognized as a Tier 3 accredited agency, and was last certified as such in May of 2019,” Romano said. “In 2019, the West Haven Police Department developed its Professional Standards Unit. At this time, Chief (Joseph) Perno implemented the PowerDMS computer program in order to stay current with progressive policing, State/National standards, as well as Evidence-Based Policing practices.”
Romano said the upgrade was a difficult one to coordinate, but was accomplished with a lot of hard work.
“The Professional Standards Division used this opportunity to update many policies that will work concurrently with the new State of Connecticut Accountability Bill,” he said. “Although this was a long, arduous process, our officers can now receive all new policies instantly through the new computer program. This essentially will streamline future Accreditation Assessments, which will foster this agency’s police legitimacy within the community.”
Romano said the state’s three-tier system builds on a police department’s handling of administration and police practices.
The Connecticut Accreditation program contains three Tiers:
Tier 1 – Assists police agencies to better protect themselves and their employees from liability exposure while simultaneously enhancing the delivery of service and improved public confidence in the agency.
Tier 2 – Focuses on Professional Standards which addresses legal requirements, management and operations.
Tier 3 – Focuses on general management and further expands on the Tier 2 standards.
According to Romano, it’s a fairly straight-up process.
“The assessment team is composed of law enforcement practitioners from the Connecticut law enforcement community,” the department’s press release announced. “The assessors will review written materials; interview individuals; and visit offices and other places where compliance can be witnessed.”
“When the Tier 1 evaluation begins, the POSTC Assessors will simply be checking our policy/procedures and conducting a building walk through to ensure the West Haven Police Department meets or exceeds the state standards (this evaluation was delayed throughout the year of 2020 due to the Covid-19 Pandemic). The Accreditation Assessment should take approximately three weeks and should be completed on April 5. The department should receive its results from POSTC during their monthly meeting in May,” he said.
Once the POST Council accreditation assessors complete their review of the agency, it reports back to the POST Council Accreditation committee who will recommend to the POST Council if the agency is to be accredited or re-accredited. Accreditation is for three years, during which time the agency must submit annual reports attesting continued compliance with those standards under which they were initially accredited or re-accredited.
As part of the on-site assessment, agency employees and members of the community are invited to offer comments. Comments can be mailed to William Tanner, POSTC Accreditation Division at 285 Preston Ave. Meriden, CT 06450, by telephone at (203) 427-2602, by fax at (203) 238-6643 or by email: Accreditation.Compliance@po.state.ct.us. Please enter the name of the agency in the subject line of the email.
A copy of the State Accreditation Standards is available online at http://www.ct.gov/post, the Police Officer Standards and Training Council / Accreditation Division website.
Romano said the department hopes residents will be part of the process.
“The West Haven Police Department appreciates the public’s support regarding this process and as always, our mission is for our Officers to work in partnership with our citizens to achieve a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect for the betterment of the community,” he said finally.
For more information regarding the POST Council accreditation program, residents may write to Tanner at the above noted addresses.