GREENVILLE — The Greenville Police Department recently received welcome news, learning that it has been reaccredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA).
In a letter to Greenville Police Chief Dennis L. Butts, CALEA’s chair and executive director congratulated the department “for demonstrating a commitment to professional excellence through accreditation.”
CALEA is an independent, nonprofit (501[c]3) corporation with the purpose of improving the delivery of public safety services nationwide.
The Greenville Police Department underwent its accreditation process August 2-5, when two CALEA assessors were on hand to observe the workings of the agency and to interview department employees as well as speak with local citizens on the department’s performance in the community.
The department was judged on four basic areas: policy and procedures; administration; operations; and support services.
Until this year, CALEA accreditation was good for three years’ time, but has now been expanded to a span of four years. The department must submit annual reports attesting to continued compliance with the standards. The Greenville Police Department has been continually accredited by CALEA since 1992.
Chief Butts said the ongoing compliance procedures will show “not only that we have a written policy, but we have to prove that we follow the written policy.”
Butts gave kudos to his entire staff, but singled out Joy Hart, the chief’s administrative assistant and the department’s accreditation manager, for her hard work on the successful accreditation process.
“Once we got her trained, she took the ball and ran with it,” Butts said. “We couldn’t ask for a better, more dedicated employee.”
Hart, employed by the department since April 2013, called the accreditation process “challenging” but expressed that she was pleased with the final result.
“It is very satisfying,” she said. “I’m extremely proud to be a part of this department and thankful that I could hold up my end. I had 100 percent faith this would go well. It was a team effort.”
CALEA’s report on the Greenville Police Department reports that those outside the agency who participated in the assessment were highly complimentary of the department.
The most recent biennial survey of citizen attitudes and opinions toward the department showed that 78 percent of respondents were satisfied in the manner in which the department executed its duties. Fifty-nine percent of respondents claimed satisfaction with the overall competency of the Greenville Police. As to the overall manner in which the department provided service to the community, 93 percent expressed satisfaction.
Further, for the years 2013 through 2015, there were very few complaints about the department, either from within the agency or from outside sources. Internal affairs investigations resulted in many of these complaints being unfounded.
Butts says that while having the CALEA accreditation is a matter of pride for the Greenville Police, it also gives the department motivation to continue to provide better service to the public.
“It serves our citizens better,” he said. “Whether someone encounters Officer A, Officer B, or Officer C, they are basically going to get the same kind of service across the board. It helps us hold our officers to a higher standard.”
“Do we want to do the best job for the citizens of Greenville that we can do? The answer is ‘Yes, we do.’” said Butts.