At the Law Enforcement Agency Accreditation Council in Albany, the Geneseo University Police Department became the ninth State University of New York to receive a certificate of accreditation from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services on March 19, joining 145 agencies statewide. Officer Philip Borden, who managed the evaluation process at Geneseo, was awarded the John Kimball O’Neil Certificate of Achievement for his work as well. According to the DCJS, “New York State’s Law Enforcement Accreditation Program is designed to promote maximum input from both community and law enforcement leaders.”
Made up of 17 members appointed by the Governor, the Accreditation Council sets the policy regarding the accreditation process and has the ultimate authority in awarding the status.
Police departments must meet approximately 133 standards in order to attain accreditation. Standards are divided into three categories: administration section, training standards and operations standards, each of which require efficient use of an agency’s resources.
Former Chief of University Police Sal Simonetti began the creation of policies and procedures to meet these standards in 2011. He handed over the reins in January 2014 to present Chief Thomas Kilcullen, who has prior accreditation experience from his position as Chief of Police at the University of Albany.
“The process became aggressive over this past summer, during which we spent time establishing and reviewing files that would ultimately be reviewed by accreditation assessors,” Kilcullen said.
These files included information on administration, such as fiscal policy and hiring tactics, to the training process undergone by officers.
According to Kilcullen, the training and professional development programs at Geneseo are a main priority and stand out within the police department.
“Our goal is to have some of the best police officers walking around on our streets,” he said.
Officer Borden conducted multiple reviews of these files as manager of the process, ensuring that they met with the standards put forth by the DCJS.
Following a 10-folder review of Geneseo’s policy and procedures by Chief of Police Michael Crowell of North Syracuse, Crowell led a team of officers in a final assessment of the Geneseo University Police Department, granting them accreditation in January 2015.
Geneseo UPD now must continue to maintain updated and efficient procedures in order to keep an accreditation status. They will undergo yearly reviews and five-year assessments, after which they can receive re-accreditation.
State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher and the State University of New York police system hope to implement SUNY-wide accreditation by 2020. Nine out of 28 campuses currently hold the status, while 12 are currently undergoing review or expressing intentions of becoming accredited.
“Kudos to the efforts of the entire State University of New York police system and their efforts to gain accreditation for all of their campuses,” Chair of the Law Enforcement Accreditation Council and Chief of Glenville Police Michael Ranalli said. “You have raised your agencies to a whole new level of professionalism. It is noticed and appreciated.”
Kilcullen explained that he sees this SUNY goal as both feasible and essential.
“The accreditation process is important to members of our police departments, but it is more important for the community,” he said. “We want to reassure the community that our policies, practices, and procedures meet the highest standards in New York State.”