The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA) conducted an on-site assessment of Rowan University’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) on Tuesday, Nov. 3.
CALEA consists of individuals with experience in many law enforcement areas and serves to accredit public safety agencies that meet their standards.
Members of the community and other police departments could join a public information session to ask questions or comment on their experience with Rowan’s DPS.
Chief Linda Stumpf-Kernick (assistant vice president of public safety at the University of Florida) and James Boyer (retired deputy chief of the Mansfield, Ohio, police) led the assessment as per their contract with CALEA.
According to Stumpf-Kernick and Boyer, the process of maintaining a CALEA accreditation is both voluntary and challenging. The police department signs up on their own accord for CALEA’s accreditation process, which assesses policy, procedures, administration, operations and support services.
“CALEA makes changes, sometimes rather quickly. Following the murder of George Floyd, standards came out very quickly for agencies to change their directives on chokeholds,” Stumpf-Kernick said. “CALEA holds every agency that subjects themselves to the accreditation process to maintain the same standards and train them to the best professionalism.”
“CALEA has gone a long way to making law enforcement from a job to a discipline,” Boyer said. “Those standards that CALEA puts up are the minimum, and every agency is permitted to excel and go above. But none may go below. So if you’re going to be accredited, you must meet the minimum standards.”
According to Stumpf-Kernick, Rowan University’s DPS faces a large degree of standards, 464 in total.
“I’ve been very impressed by Rowan’s use of technology. They have really good technology around campus, and I’m a little jealous of it. It shows the commitment of Rowan University to the public safety of its faculty and students,” Stumpf-Kernick said. “Rowan doesn’t want to be behind if something bad happens; they want to be in a position to respond as best they can. I look for that embedded in the culture, and they have certainly shown us that.”
Stumpf-Kernick praised Rowan for being on record management systems (RMS) and a computer dispatch system in accordance with other agencies. She stated it shows a critical ability to communicate amongst other departments.
“When you adopt an RMS, you get a sharing of information amongst agencies. It’s a force multiplier for solving crime. The fact that Rowan has access to excellent technology, it puts them above a majority of the communities I’ve gone to as an assessment,” Stumpf-Kernick said.
Kevin Creegan, the patrol captain at the Princeton University DPS, stated that his agency works with Rowan’s on occasion. Specifically, Creegan brought up a few investigations and told CALEA his department believes Rowan’s is operationally sound.
“We don’t have a lot of higher education institutions in the state of New Jersey, so it’s nice to get collaboration when needed with the ones we do have. Being CALEA accredited ourselves, I see Rowan as a model agency for the state and in higher education. I see no reason they won’t be able to maintain CALEA accreditation,” Creegan said.
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