Fort Lee residents and merchants are invited to give their opinion of the borough police department as part of a process known as accreditation.
Members of the department and borough employees are encouraged to call, as well, during the scheduled phone-in period between 10-11 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16.
THE NUMBER: (201) 592-3521 / Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Telephone comments are limited to 5 minutes and “must address the agency’s ability to comply with the accreditation standards,” according to Police Chief Matthew Hintze.
(You can also write to the at New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police, Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission at 751 Route 73 North, Suite 12 Marlton, N.J. 08053 or email email@example.com.)
A team of assessors from NJSACOP will examine all aspects of the department’s policies and procedures, management, operations, and support services, Hintze said.
“Verification by the team that the Fort Lee Police Department meets the Commission’s ‘best practice’ standards is part of a voluntary process to achieve accreditation, a highly prized recognition of law enforcement professional excellence,” the chief said.
“Accreditation results in greater accountability within the agency, reduced risk and liability exposure, stronger defense against civil lawsuits, increased community advocacy, and more confidence in the agency’s ability to operate efficiently and respond to community needs,” he added.
Although it hasn’t been proven to directly improve police response time, reduce crime, or cut costs to taxpayers, accreditation does send a message that a department is committed to professionalism — the same as colleges and other institutions do.
For instance, the department must meet more than 100 standards for, among others, prisoner transfers, how petty cash is handled, and the process for evidence chain-of-custody.
The review team, made up of law enforcement officers, will “review written materials, interview agency members, and visit offices and other places where compliance with the standards can be observed,” said Harry J. Delgado, the program manager.
They will then report to the commission, which determines whether to grant accreditation.
Accreditation is valid for a three-year period. During that time, the department must submit annual reports attesting to its continued compliance with accreditation standards.
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