IMPD seeks re-accreditation from national accrediting commission, only 7% of US agencies achieve goal

Indianapolis Area Crime

INDIANAPOLIS — IMPD is working on re-accreditation for the police department through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc. (CALEA). This is their first re-accreditation since receiving accreditation in 2018.

CALEA accreditation is prestigious with only 7% of law enforcement agencies nationwide achieving it.

“Hospitals and schools are required to be accredited or they can’t be in business,” Tim Fitch, CALEA Team Leader for IMPD, said. “For police departments, it’s voluntary.”

CALEA is meeting with IMPD virtually this week to ensure they are following the commission’s standards as well as their own policies. They are considering standards around use of force.

“That’s a big deal, especially today with police departments involved in officer-involved shootings,” Fitch said. “We know how much those are heavily critiqued and should be in a community. We make sure that they’re following the standards set forth by CALEA on what to do when they have an officer-involved shooting, how the reporting must be, how it must be reviewed.”

IMPD explains this outside agency will share its findings with the community.

“That way they can report back to the community, to the council, to anyone else who may be interested in this that we’re doing the things that we say that we’re doing,” IMPD Dep. Chief Catherine Cummings said. “That we are looking at best practices across the country and we are updating our policies and essentially our practices to ensure that we are where we need to be, we’re upholding the standards that we should be upholding and we are practicing best practices.”

The agency also looks at evidence collection, processing, tracking and release. CALEA also evaluates pursuit policy.

“That’s a highly charged situation,” Fitch said. “People get hurt in pursuits, killed in pursuits.”

The community was invited to visit the downtown city-county building tonight. Resident Erik Davenport showed up to offer his support of the re-accreditation of the department.

He also explained what changes he would like to see within the department.

“I think defunding the police is the wrong analogy for any law enforcement agency across the nation,” Davenport said. “I think we maybe need to look at demilitarizing the police and by doing that we need more in personnel than necessarily equipment right? So we want more empathetic individuals to come into the arrangement, the situation, the call with a more open mind, more willing to have a conversation, more willing to find what’s going on before a full reaction to what is going on. 

Davenport said he is encouraged to hear the commission will evaluate the use of force policies.

“I think it’s probably the highest, most important thing for the relationship between the community and our law enforcement department,” Davenport said.

Up next, CALEA will put together a report to present to the commission. Then, they will send it to IMPD and city leaders to share with the public. This should happen in the next 60 days or so.

“We make recommendations as well,” Fitch said. “We make sure they’re following the standards and if they’re not, they’re in trouble. But there might be things not related to a standard that we say you might want to take a look at this.”

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