Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Friday, August 26, 2016

Plainfield Police Division moves closer to accreditation

Plainfield Police Division patch. 1869 is the year
of the city's incorporation.

Plainfield Councilor Rebecca Williams, who chairs the Public Safety Committee, regularly reports to the Council and the public on Police Division initiatives.

At a recent Council meeting, it was reported that the Police Division is "about 90% complete" on the 2-year-long accreditation process which is supervised by the NJ State Association of Chiefs of Police (NJSACOP).

Although reference is often made to the process including a review and updating of policies and procedures, there has been no in-depth discussion of what that means.

So, I decided to take a look.

The NJSACOP website is here.

On the website, you can open and view (or download) the following materials --
  • The 3-page survey every applicant police division must complete and file;
  • The 3-page profile of the agenc;y that must be filed;
  • The 29-page Manual describing the accreditation process; and
  • The 67-page Manual detailing the Accreditation Standards in 27 areas.

A list of the 27 standards areas that must be met
in the accreditation process. (Click image to enlarge.)

The next time someone airily waves a hand in discussion of the accreditation as though it was a 10-minute multiple choice quiz, you should check out the depth of the process.

What is intended is that the qualifying agency -- in this case the Plainfield Police Division -- has in place the proper policies and procedures to enable the division to "serve and protect" the public to the best extent possible under contemporary standards.

You will note that the prohibition of racially-based policing is among the first standards addressed.

A review also shows that areas that have been problematical for the Plainfield PD in the past (Internal Affairs, Extra duty (side jobs), and records control) are all addressed in the standards being set.

I suspect that much of the suspicion that Councilor Taylor has attempted to fan centers around past abuses in those areas (as well as civil service procedures) and that Director Riley's moves to bring the organization into compliance are meeting with resistance from those who have benefited in the past from the politicization of the Division under a prior administration.

It is well worth your time to check out these resources.

Meanwhile, Plainfield residents can look forward to the completion of the accreditation process next year. This will be followed by a review and reaccreditation every two years to make sure Plainfield stands among the most current, will-trained and cutting edge divisions in the state.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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