VPD works to keep elite status - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

VPD works to keep elite status

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April 24, 2008

Valdosta - Only three police departments in our area earned national accreditation and one of them is now working to keep that elite status.

The Valdosta Police Department was first honored by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies in 1999.

Every three years, they must prove they deserve to keep their accreditation.

Assessors are on their way to town and they want to hear from the people of Valdosta.

Valdosta Police say community involvement is the key to good policing.  "Having community involvement is the key to any police department. But without it we cant be as professional as we need to be and we can't get things solved and done like it needs to be done," says Lt. Bernard Robinson.

And building a credible reputation is something they've worked on for years.  "We as an organization continue to pride ourselves on neighborhood watches and community affairs."

But now they'll see if their hard work has paid off. CALEA, the agency that accredits law enforcers is visiting Valdosta this week, testing the department on their policies and procedures.

"How we handle our budget, how we handle use of force, profiling and other aspects," Robinson says.

The police have been accredited since 1999 and must be re-accredited every three years. While their procedures and policies will determine whether they get it, the accrediters will look to the community to see if the department has make the grade.

"I would give them an A," says Valdosta resident Mike Sumner."Every time we've called them they'd be very timely, professional and thorough."

Jamie Nix agrees.  "Probably a 10.  They just do a good job keeping the community safe."

Police say no matter what the comments are, they use them to try to better the agency.  And they hope CALEA will recognize their hard work and accredit them for three more years.

The assessment team will be in town Saturday through Wednesday. They'll hold a public forum Monday April 28 at 7:00 PM at the city hall annex.

Only 38 agencies in Georgia have the accreditation. The Moultrie and Thomasville Police Departments are the only other ones in south Georgia.