Assistant Vice President for Campus Security and Chief of Police David Carter recently announced the University of Texas at Austin Police Department (UTPD) was awarded Accreditation with Excellence on July 30 by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA®). This is the second time UTPD has achieved Accreditation with Excellence, the highest honor the department can receive.
“I’d like to express my appreciation to the CALEA® Commissioners for their recognition, once again, for this important award,” Carter said. “It shows our department has been diligent in making sure we stay true to best practices.”
The accreditation award follows a multi-year self-assessment phase and a meticulous site-based assessment of community engagement, policy, procedures, equipment and facilities by CALEA® assessors. Each agency being reviewed goes before the CALEA® 21-member Board of Commissioners; the commission reviews all findings and determines the agency’s accreditation status.
“I believe the accreditation process is more important than ever, especially in light of the current events going on around the nation,” Carter said. “Accreditation shows police departments are doing the right thing—continually looking to improve the service they provide to their community.”
At UTPD, the CALEA® chief assessor found that the way the department is restructuring has the potential to serve as a model for policing. Starting in August 2019, UTPD began operating within Community Engagement, Investigations and Mitigation, and Public Order divisions based on UTPD’s review of issues occurring at a national level.
“Certain communities simply did not have the level of trust in police serving them,” Carter said. “COVID-19 may have temporarily slowed down our restructuring process, but we look forward to further enhancing police services on and around campus.”
UTPD was first awarded national accreditation in 2007 and was accredited on a three-year cycle until CALEA® converted to a four-year cycle in 2016. That year, the department received Accreditation with Excellence. Both times that UTPD has received the category of Accreditation with Excellence have been under Carter’s tenure as chief.
CALEA® was created in 1979 through the combined efforts of four major law enforcement organizations: International Association of Chiefs of Police, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, National Sheriffs’ Association, and Police Executive Research Forum. Its purpose is to develop standards based on international best practices in public safety and to establish and administer the accreditation process. That process is how a public safety agency such as UTPD voluntarily demonstrates how it meets professionally recognized criteria for excellence in management and service delivery.