The Provincetown Police Department will undertake the self initiated process of Certification and Accreditation that is governed by the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission.
Police accreditation is a process by which a police department formally evaluates its activities and seeks an independent judgment to substantially achieve its own objectives which is generally equal in quality to comparable agencies.
This process is a mechanism by which police departments strive to meet and maintain standards that have been established by the profession and for the profession. The standards have been carefully selected to reflect the critical areas of police management, operations, and technical support functions. The areas covered include: policy development, emergency response, planning, training, communications, property and evidence handling, use of force, vehicle pursuit, prisoner transportation and holding facilities. The Certification and Accreditation programs not only set standards for the law enforcement profession, but also for the delivery of police services to the citizens of Provincetown.
Participating in this process initially requires intense self-scrutiny and ultimately provides a quality assurance review of the Department. When the Department undertakes the Certification process it will allow independent assessors from the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission to conduct an on-site review of the 159 standards set by the commission. Currently there are just over 50 certified police departments in the state. The award is made for 3 years.
The Department will then pursue the commission's highest award, accreditation. The essential elements of the accreditation process entail extensive review of, and adjustment to, agency policies, procedures and equipment; an onsite evaluation by a selected group of peers; and a decision by an independent commission that the agency is worthy of accreditation. The Department must then comply with the 326 standards to accomplish this goal.
The Department must then maintain compliance with all of the standards, knowing they will undergo another assessment every three years to maintain its status.
The standards for certification and accreditation (MPAC and CALEA) impact officer and public safety. They also address high liability issues and promote operational efficiency throughout the police department. The benefits are many and vary among police departments based on the state of a department when it initially enters the process. The benefits of certification and accreditation are realized by making changes in operations which generally involve policy writing, facility improvements and equipment purchases. Some of the most common benefits of a department participating in the process are:
- Providing a norm for the Department to judge its performance
- Providing a process to correct deficiencies before they become problems
- Requiring the Department to commit to policies and procedures in writing
- Promoting accountability among Department personnel
- Ensuring consistent application of policies
- Providing a means of independent evaluation of the Department's operations
- Minimizing the Department's exposure to liability
- Building a stronger defense against lawsuits
- Providing the potential to reduce liability insurance costs
- Enhancing the reputation of the department
- Increasing the public's confidence in the Department
The Provincetown Police Department is determined to provide the best professional services to the citizens of the Town of Provincetown. Massachusetts is one of twenty-four states that offer an accreditation process for its police departments.