The Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association introduced the Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Accreditation Program to the Commonwealth in July, 2001. Since then, 375 agencies have enrolled and 117 agencies currently have maintained accredited status.
Accreditation is a progressive and time-proven way of helping institutions evaluate and improve their overall performance. The cornerstone of this strategy lies in the promulgation of standards containing a clear statement of professional objectives. Participating administrators then conduct a thorough analysis to determine how existing operations can be adapted to meet these objectives. When the procedures are in place, a team of independent professionals are assigned to verify that all applicable standards have been successfully implemented. The process culminates with a decision by an authoritative body that the institution is worthy of accreditation.
The benefits of accreditation include:
- Establishes a credible framework for evaluating agency practices and procedures.
- Reduces agency risk and exposure to lawsuits.
- Decreases some liability insurance expenditures.
- Improves law enforcement – community relations.
- Increases employee input, interaction, and confidence in the agency.
- Enlarges the outlook and viewpoints of managers, officers, and employees.
- Identifies and highlights the capabilities and competence of the agency.
- Furnishes a solid foundation for the agency to build upon for further progress.
- Provides reliable methods to improve essential management procedures.
- Extends agency accountability to the public and elected officials.
- Enhances planning and innovative activities by all agency personnel.
- Develops improved methods for providing services to the community.
- Encourages problem-solving activities within the agency.
The Lower Providence Township Police Department was accredited by the Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission in 2006 and has received reaccreditation every three years since that time. Accredited status has been awarded to less than 10% of the 1200 law enforcement agencies in the commonwealth.