The Burlington Police Department was first accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc, (CALEA) in April, 1989. The agency has maintained accredited status, in good standing, for the last 27 years and was re-accredited with Advanced Gold Standard at the March 2017 conference, which was held in Mobile, Alabama. The next conference will also be held in Mobile, Alabama in March, 2021.
Chief Smythe's Reasons for Accreditation
"As the Chief of Police, accreditation is important to me for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, accredited status sends a clear message to the community that the Burlington Police Department is “doing it right.” The citizens should know and have confidence in the fact that we have a body of policies and standards that meet or exceed the professional best practices of the policing industry. And we know this, not just because we say we do it, but because professionals in our industry come to Burlington regularly and audit our work. They ensure that we meet every required standard for everything we do.
"Accreditation also provides a substantial amount of information, in a consolidated form, that helps me to manage this agency. Our CALEA standards require quarterly and annual reports and reviews. For instance, every year we look at our uses of force for the year. We evaluate trends in the number of officers and the number of citizens that are injured during violent encounters. We look at how often we use firearms and how often we use tasers. Should the data show a change from previous years, I will direct the staff to conduct additional research and learn more about it. This may result in additional training for officers, the purchase of new or different equipment, or we may decide that some form of community outreach and education might be appropriate to maintain good relations with the people we serve.
"Accreditation with CALEA is a voluntary process and we choose to be involved. We have made this choice to demonstrate our commitment to professionalism and transparency. There are nearly 18,000 eligible law enforcement agencies (local, state, and federal in the United States) that could choose to be accredited. For a variety of reasons, about 630 agencies are currently accredited. Based on the number of standards we comply with, we are in the top 3% of police agencies in this country. The Burlington Police Department is very proud of our accredited status and hope our citizens are equally proud of their police department."
"All of our CALEA files are public records. Should you wish to learn more about law enforcement accreditation, I encourage you to visit with our Accreditation Manager, Kim Biebel. I, Chief J. Jeffrey Smythe am also available for any questions, comments, or concerns."
The department had a successful on-site assessment in November of 2016. We, also, held a hearing for public input as part of our on-site assessment. The next public hearing will be held in December 2020.