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A survey of law enforcement agencies that are accredited or in the self-assessment phase of the accreditation process, as provided by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc.
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Even though law enforcement accreditation has existed for more than a decade, many law enforcement agencies have chosen not to be a part of the process. The reasons for this reluctance or refusal are many. Accreditation, whether for educational institutions, hospitals, or law enforcement agencies provides an avenue for this increased functionality and professionalism through compliance to a set of standards that have been developed by professionals within and without the field. While the number of accredited law enforcement agencies has continually increased over a ten year period, the number remains small compared to the more than twenty thousand law enforcement agencies nationwide. To help promote a better understanding of the accreditation process, this study was undertaken to provide answers to the following questions: 1) To what degree are the accreditation standards realistic, applicable, and obtainable? 2) To what degree are the benefits of accreditation worth the effort and costs involved? and 3) To what degree would those agencies that are either accredited or in the accreditation process recommend non-participating agencies to enter the process? A review of the literature suggests that little has been done in the way of empirical research to provide interested law enforcement agencies with data with which to make an informed decision concerning law enforcement accreditation. To accomplish the goals of this study, 582 law enforcement agencies who were either accredited or working towards accreditation were mailed a questionnaire that was to be completed and returned to the researcher. Results indicated that most agencies felt they were more professional due to their participation in the process but that some changes in the accreditation standards and process would be beneficial. The results also revealed that many agencies incurred unexpected costs related to the accreditation process. Recent sweeping changes implemented by CALEA has nullified much of the data obtained through this research. In March 1993, CALEA implemented a topto-bottom review of the accreditation process. After a year of review, a new standards manual was adopted and sent to participating agencies in August 1994.
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Includes bibliographical references.
Sandel, Milton Carlisle (1994). A survey of law enforcement agencies that are accredited or in the self-assessment phase of the accreditation process, as provided by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc.. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from
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