TRUMBULL COUNTY Bazetta police seek recognition

The department may be the first in Trumbull County to become accredited by the international organization.
BAZETTA -- This township's 12-member police department is hoping to earn international accreditation.
Capt. Charles Sayers said it is aiming at getting accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.
The nonprofit accrediting authority was established in 1979 in Fairfax, Va. CALEA consists of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, National Sheriff's Association and Police Executive Research Forum.
"This is a voluntary program and we don't get any more money if we are accredited," Sayers said. "But the program will give us a better sense of professionalism. It makes us examine ourselves and to make sure we are meeting the current standards."
According to CALEA's Web site, the purpose of the commission's accreditation program is to "improve delivery of law enforcement service by offering a body of standards, developed by law enforcement practitioners, covering a wide range of up-to-date law enforcement topics."
The Web site notes that the benefit of CALEA accreditation includes "the recognition of obtaining international excellence, administrative improvements, greater accountability from supervisors, increased governmental and community support."
The Web site also says that accreditation makes it easier for agencies to buy police liability insurance, to increase the limit of their insurance coverage and sometimes to pay lower premiums.
Some agencies report a decline in legal actions against them once they become accredited, the site says.
Sayers thinks if Bazetta is successful, it will be the first agency in Trumbull County to be CALEA-accredited.
"This is something I am definitely thinking about doing," said Sheriff Thomas Altiere. "It is a long process though -- it's not something that happens overnight."
Sayers said it will take the department about 10 months for the process to be complete and for the department to meet all the standards.
"We have to go through our policy and procedures and make sure they are the same as CALEA," Sayers said. The policies deal with several areas including receipt of property, evidence storage, use of force and pursuits.
The township has to pay about $1,500 for the accreditation, Sayers said. Township trustees approved the payment at their last meeting.

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