Albany Police Department Chief John Proctor speaks at a formal accreditation announcement at the APD Law Enforcement Center. The agency was notified Saturday that it was receiving accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. (Staff Photo: Jennifer Parks)
ALBANY — About 18 months of hard work paid off for the Albany Police Department over the weekend upon word that the agency had received accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA).
The APD staff, including Chief John Proctor, came together on Monday to formally announce that the agency had received the accreditation as well as thank the community and area leadership for their support, which included participation in a public session in August before members of the assessment team investigating the APD’s worthiness of the accreditation based on 480 standards touching every policy and procedure in the department.
Proctor was among a group of people in Winston Salem, N.C., when the APD received word on Saturday. The chief sat before the review board that morning, and was officially notified of the accreditation Saturday evening.
“We are in a group of 130 folks, including 38 or 39 agencies in Georgia law enforcement,” Proctor said Monday. “It’s a high honor.
” … This is usually a three-year deal, and we got this done in a year-and-a-half. That is monumental. I’ve been asked how we did it, and I said; ‘We are going to get it.’ It was not just a one person effort; it took everyone involved.”
Among those to offer his congratulations was Albany City Manager James Taylor.
“I wanted to take the opportunity to thank the chief and his staff for their Herculean efforts,” he said at the podium Monday. “It has taken awhile and a lot of energy from those with other commitments.”
While maintaining an effort to stay grounded, Proctor was hopeful Monday the CALEA accreditation would help to keep the agency and its officers in a positive light.
“(The accreditation shows) we are considered the best in the police profession,” he said. “We have strived to meet our goals and are now accredited nationwide and statewide.
” … It lets them (the public) know we are striving to be as professional as we can be …”
At the same time, it ought to do more than make the APD look good. In the long run, Proctor said, there could be an economic development component to it in that it shows incoming businesses that crime is being handled in the community effectively.
“It shows we are working to deal with crime issues,” the chief said. “It allows the city to do a lot of bond financing … and they are offered lower rates.
The panel on the forum conducted in August consisted of Mike McLaurin, town manager for Waxhaw, N.C., and Lt. Deborah Morgan of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Police Department Investigations Unit. The impression Proctor got was that both were pleased with the atmosphere they saw in Albany.
“(The panel said) Albany was a jewel in the rough, and I truly believe that,” he said. “I knew it (the accreditation) was there, but I’m the kind of person who wants to have it in hand.”
Among those who spoke before McLaurin and Morgan were Dougherty County Sheriff Kevin Sproul, John Fields, chief of police for the Albany State University Police Department, and Jim Deal, president of Albany Communications.