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Joplin Police Department seeks third CALEA certification - KOAM TV 7

Joplin Police Department seeks third CALEA certification

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A nationally recognized police accreditation is now deciding on whether or not the Joplin Police Department will receive a special certification.  Among other things, it helps make the JPD less liable for various types of incidents.

Consider two CALEA assessors at the JPD right now as police for the police.

"Just shows that you're a professional department.  And it really does keep you accountable," says Rachele Davis, who does data entry and coordinates the CALEA certification program for the JPD.

Members of CALEA, or the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, are scrutinizing nearly every asset and policy of the JPD.  The JPD has been CALEA certified twice, and needs to be re-certified every three years.

"We've been doing this now for almost seven, eight years.  So its really become a part of our culture," says Lieutenant Matt Stewart with the Joplin Police Department.

It's a culture that includes 482 CALEA standards.  The JPD must show one proof, or piece of evidence, every year for each standard, showing that standard was followed.  

"They look at our use of force statistics, they look at our crime rate, they look at things like how many calls for service we have every year, they look at tickets, 911 calls," says Davis.

The proofs are stored in a large cabinet, filled with thousands of pages.  Each proof is divided into chapters and subsections.

Davis says, "You have to be real organized in putting everything together.  And I'm a real organized person, so that just comes naturally, not a problem!"

Three years ago, CALEA made a recommendation to the JPD.

"There was an issue with how we were keeping evidence for our cyber crimes, and where we were storing it.  It was secure, just not as secure as CALEA would liked for it to have been.  So that was an applied discretion for them.  Something we've worked on and we've fixed," says Stewart.

How police interact with the media and public is also noted.

"We're looking at it from the police point of view.  This allows us an opportunity to get an idea of how the public is viewing what we're doing," says Stewart.

In July, when all the T's are crossed and all the I's dotted, officers will find out if they've been re-certified by CALEA.

It costs the JPD a little less than $4,000 a year to be CALEA certified.  

Tonight at 7, there will be a public input session in the Joplin Municipal Courtroom, where CALEA officials will hear feedback about the JPD.

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